A federal judge has halted consideration of a class action against Mars Inc for allegedly misleading consumers about the calorie content of chocolate bars to give an appeals court time to resolve a similar case.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose stayed the class action Wednesday by Phyllis Gustavson.
GUstavson alleged Mars misbranded its M&M, Twix, dark chocolate and milk chocolate Dove and Snickers bars with claims about calorie contents, nutrient-contents of cocoa flavanols and that the company failed to identify an emulsifier in the candy, “polyglycerol polyricinoleic acid” by its common name.
Mars had asked Koh to stay the case to await the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a mislabeling appeal for canned tomatoes, cookie spray and hot cocoa, Jones v. ConAgra Foods Inc.
Gustavson’s lawyers argued a stay would cause delay that would harm plaintiffs in the case.
Koh said she was persuaded that no matter what the 9th Circuit decided in Jones, the decision “is likely to provide substantial guidance, if not new law, that will materially impact the court’s decisions.”
Case: Gustavson v. Mars Inc., No. 13-4537LHK