Coca-Cola wins dismissal of Diet Coke Plus lawsuit

Fri Apr 1, 2011 11:22am EDT

* Lawsuit claimed Diet Coke Plus touted as healthy

* Judge: Dissatisfaction with soda not reason to recover

NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) has won the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing it of deceiving consumers into believing its Diet Coke Plus cola drink is healthy.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in Camden, New Jersey rejected arguments in the 2009 case that the world's largest beverage maker broke that state's consumer fraud laws and federal Food and Drug Administration rules in packaging the soda.

The plaintiffs, two New Jersey residents, had argued that Coca-Cola's "boasting" on the soda's label, including use of the term "Plus" and the language "Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals," falsely suggested the soda was healthy and nutritious.

But the judge said there was no showing that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola made false statements. He cited an FDA letter explaining that the soda contains at least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of several vitamins and minerals.

"At most, plaintiffs simply claim that their expectations of the soda were disappointed," the judge wrote in his ruling Thursday. "Dissatisfaction with a product, however, is not a quantifiable loss that can be remedied."

The New Jersey residents, Thomas Mason and Molly Adams, had sought class-action status, court papers show.

Their lawyer, John Olivo, was not immediately available for comment.

The case is Mason v. Coca-Cola Co, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 09-00220. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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