Ninth Circuit Affirms Lower Court’s Decision in POM Wonderful v. Purely Juice, Inc.January 19, 2010
By Susan J. Matthees –
In July 2008, we blogged about the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s decision that found Purely Juice, Inc. liable under the Lanham Act for false advertising related to its pomegranate juice product. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision, meaning Purely Juice must pay POM Wonderful damages of over $1 million, attorneys fees of over $600,000, and a disgorgement of profits of over $300,000.
Purely Juice’s appeal contended, in part, that the district court’s standard for purity interfered with the authority of FDA. The Ninth Circuit stated “POM did not sue to enforce the FDCA, and the facts show no encroachment on the FDA’s authority.” The Ninth Circuit also held that the district court did not err by finding the Purely Juice had the requisite knowledge that its product was not 100% pure pomegranate juice and without sugar added, and that the president and founder of Purely Juice was personally liable.