U.S. District Court
Western District of Missouri
Introduction: Description of MDL No. 2361
This multidistrict litigation consists of over 7 cases currently pending before this Court. These cases involve allegations concerning Simply Orange Juice (“Simply Orange”). The plaintiffs allege that the producers and marketers of branded fruit juices, The Coca-Cola Company ("Coca-Cola") and The Minute Maid Company ("Minute Maid"), have been falsely claiming that Simply Orange is 100% pure squeezed, natural orange juice. Plaintiffs allege that Simply Orange is, instead, heavily processed, pasteurized, deaerated, and flavored. Plaintiffs state that due in part to their false belief of the purity and freshness of Simply Orange, consumers have been paying a premium price for the orange juice that is not warranted. The various complaints assert claims for unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, and violation of consumer fraud laws of various states. Plaintiffs also seek injunctive and declaratory relief.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“Judicial Panel”) determined that Simply Orange cases filed in various courts around the country involved common questions of fact, and that centralization of the cases was appropriate. Based on a number of factors, the Judicial Panel determined that the Western District of Missouri was an appropriate forum. All Simply Orange cases were then ordered to be transferred to the Western District of Missouri, and assigned to Chief Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. to coordinate discovery and other pretrial matters. Subsequent Simply Orange cases filed in federal court will ordinarily be transferred to the Western District of Missouri and become part of MDL No. 2361 as a “tag along” case. Once discovery and other pretrial matters have been concluded, the cases that constitute MDL No. 2361 shall be transferred back to the district in which the case was originally filed, for trial or other proceedings.