A Boston man and a Chelmsford woman this week sued Coca Cola, alleging its flagship product is misleading and manipulating consumers into drinking it.
In their suit, filed in US District Court, Damiano DiPaola of Boston and Michelle Marino of Chelmsford both said they were regular Coke drinkers until they learned it was made with phosphoric acid, a preservative and tartness enhancer they say violates the company's marketing pledges that Coke is "natural and healthy:"
Plaintiff Marino purchased Coca-Cola in Chelmsford, Massachusetts within the past four years. In particular, she purchased Coca-Cola as an occasional treat for her three young daughters, believing that the product did not contain any artificial flavorings or chemical preservatives, and unaware that Coca-Cola contained phosphoric acid. Upon learning this information, Ms. Marino stopped purchasing Coca-Cola for her children.
Plaintiff DiPaola purchased Coca-Cola in Boston, Massachusetts within the past four years. He purchased the product for himself and drank it regularly, believing it to be a natural and healthy beverage. However, he stopped purchasing and drinking Coca-Cola when he learned that it contains artificial flavorings and chemical preservatives, including phosphoric acid.
The suit is only over the sugar-flavored original soda, not Coke's other products, such as Diet Coke. Sugar Coke does list phosphoric acid in its ingredient list.
Plaintiffs and members of the Class were unaware that the Coca-Cola products they purchased were misbranded, illegal, and worthless.
The two are seeking to become lead plaintiffs in a class action that could potentially include every regular Coke drinker in Massachusetts - they are seeking damages under Massachusetts consumer-protection and contract laws as well as federal statutes:
Plaintiffs could have purchased cheaper alternative products that were not illegal, misbranded, or worthless....
The sale of a misbranded product in Massachusetts constitutes an illegal contract and is void under Federal law and the laws of Massachusetts.
The lawsuit seeks an order forcing Coca Cola to stop with the "natural" branding as well as unspecified damages, penalties and lawyers' fees.