Court Rejects Class Settlement and Attorney Fees in Suit Over Nutrition Data

Pirate's Booty

A $3.5 million class action settlement -- and $790,000 in attorney fees -- over snack foods that were found to have more fat than advertised has been thrown out by a state appeals court in Brooklyn.

The Appellate Division, 2nd Department's ruling in Klein v. Robert's American Gourmet Food, Inc., 2003-00553, found that the trial judge who approved the settlement did not adequately consider the relevant factors in certifying a class over Pirate's Booty snacks, created by Robert's American Gourmet Food, Inc., and manufactured by Keystone Food Products. It remanded the case for further consideration.

The court, in a signed opinion by Justice Steven W. Fisher, said the attorneys who worked on the case had offered an insufficient explanation of their work to justify the fees.

"The record does not provide information sufficient to allow us to determine whether the Supreme Court made an informed decision and providently exercised its discretion when it certified a nationwide settlement-only class, and when it approved the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class members," Fisher wrote.

Robert's had advertised its snacks -- Pirate's Booty, Fruity Booty and Veggie Booty, among others -- as low-fat, low-calorie snacks. But tests from Good Housekeeping's Institute found that the products contained 8.5 grams of fat and 147 calories per 1-ounce serving, rather than the promised 2.5 grams of fat and 120 calories.

Details here from the New York Law Journal via