Famed San Francisco chocolatier, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. received tentative approval last week of a $5.25 million class action settlement of claims that its whit chocolate chips have no white chocolate.
The lawsuit claimed that Ghirardelli violated consumer protection laws by claiming its classic white baking chips contained chocolate when they did not.
The settlement fund will allow any consumer who purchased white chips $1.50 per purchase and 75-cents per purchase of any other products labeled “all natural.”
There is no cap on the amount paid to a claimant for purchases that can be corroborated by Proof of Purchase.
Auburndale, Florida tourist, Scott Miller, purchased a bag of the Ghirardelli white chocolate chips in 2012, but discovered later that they did not taste like white chocolate.
He discovered the package ingredients did not list white chocolate, cocoa, or cocoa butter.
In 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler threw out all Miller’s allegations related to white chocolate products he did not buy. Miller and the company entered into mediation and ultimately settled the case.
Miller will receive a $5,000 incentive award for acting as lead plaintiff in the class case. The law firm of Gutride Safier will be paid from the settlement fund.
Beeler set a fairness hearing on the deal for Feb. 19, 2015 – unfortunately that is five days after Valentine’s Day.
Case: Miller v. Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., No. 12-cv-4396LB