POM Wonderful is locked in a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission over whether the company has made deceptive claims about its pomegranate juices. But the company says a federal judge shouldn't wait for the regulatory dispute to play out before intervening.
In a filing late Thursday, lawyers for the juice-maker reiterated their request for a federal judge in Washington to step in. The lawyers, including Barry Coburn of Washington’s Coburn & Coffman, write that the FTC has “promulgated a stealth regulation” with its actions in other cases about advertising of food and drink. The whole food industry could be affected, they write.
POM’s lawsuit, filed in September, asks the court to declare that the FTC acted outside its authority in establishing what POM calls a new advertising standard. The FTC disagrees that it has created a new standard, and has asked for POM’s lawsuit to be thrown out.
The latest filing says POM is willing to fight the regulatory battle and a court battle at the same time. “[T]here is no reason why both actions cannot and should not proceed concurrently,” POM’s lawyers write.
In asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed in November, lawyers for the FTC questioned whether the juice-maker has standing to bring it. POM was not a party to the other advertising cases it is complaining about, they wrote, and “neither of these consent decrees binds POM nor addresses POM’s acts or practices.” The consent decrees involved Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition Inc. and Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc.
The case has been assigned to Judge Richard Roberts of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.