SKINNYGIRL MARGARITA DECISION POSES PROBLEMS FOR PROPOSED CLASS IN TEMPLETON RYE CASE

This fall, Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC, the makers of Templeton Rye Whiskey, were sued in Cook County, Illinois for alleged deceptive marketing practices.  The class action lawsuit which alleges among other claims, statutory fraud and common law fraud, that Defendant has marketed its whiskey as being “small batch” and “made in Iowa” when in fact the whiskey is distilled and aged in Indiana at a factory that “specializes in distilling ‘industrial alcohol.’”  The plaintiff seeks to certify a class of “[a]ll individuals in the United States who purchased a bottle of Templeton Rye” and a subclass of “[a]ll individuals in the Class who are domiciled in the State of Illinois.”  Templeton Rye Spirits has removed the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  See McNair V. Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC, Case No. 1:14-cv-07440 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2014). Notably, the Northern District of Illinois recently refused to certify a class of consumers in a case striking similar to McNair.  In Langendorf, the plaintiff sought to certify a class of all Illinois purchasers of Skinnygirl Margaritas for alleged deceptive marketing practices stemming from the brand’s packaging and labeling of the drink as “all natural.”  SeeLangendorf v. Skinnygirl Cocktails, LLC, Case No. 11-cv-7060 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 30, 2014).  The court concluded that the claims could not be resolved in a single action on behalf of all Illinois purchases.  In reaching that conclusion, the court reasoned that common questions could not predominate, as necessary for class action treatment, because the court would need to consider what each purchaser believed about Skinnygirl Margaritas and why she or he purchased the product.  The court also reasoned that class certification was improper because there was no way to identify class members.  Specifically, purchasers were unlikely to have kept receipts and no other objective record of purchase existed.

Given the decision in Langendorf, seeking class certification in McNair may prove to be (wait for it) “whiskey” business.

For more information on the Langendorf and McNair cases, contact Katherine Olson at (312)-334-3444 or kolson@messerstrickler.com.