On March 25, U.S. District judge Jeffrey White dismissed a lawsuit brought by the litigation project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest ("CSPI"). See Center for Science in the Public Interest v. Bayer Corporation, et al., No. C 09-05379, Slip op. (N.D. Ca. Mar. 25, 2010) (Law360 subscription required to view pdf). CSPI had sued Bayer over its One a Day Men's Multivitamins, which purportedly contain selenium and which Bayer allegedly has been marketing as promoting prostate health. CSPI sued for injunctive relief under California's Unfair Competition Law and its Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
The district court granted Bayer's motion to dismiss, holding that CSPI lacked standing to sue in a representative capacity on behalf of its members, and it had not suffered an injury itself that gave rise to standing as an institution. The UCL, as we have noted many times on this blog, was amended by Proposition 64 to limit standing to sue only to those people who have suffered an injury in fact and lost money or property as a result of the allegedly deceptive conduct. CSPI did not meet this standard, the court held.
Similarly, the CLRA applies only to consumers of services for personal, family, or household purposes. Again, that is not CSPI.
The court analyzed CSPI's claim of institutional standing, in which it claimed to have suffered injury from Bayer's representations about its vitamins. The court rejected any allegation of injury to CSPI, noting: "[T]he allegations as currently pled indicate that, in reaction to Bayer's alleged misrepresentations, CSPI as an organization reacted by disseminating information about nutritional science and by educating its members. This conduct, rather than causing CSPI to incur injury, fulfilled the espoused purpose of the organization. Accordingly, CSPI fails to allege any property loss or any interference with its institutional activities or ability to operate." Slip op. at 6. The court granted the motion to dismiss the UCL claim and the claim for declaratory relief with leave to amend, and granted dismissal of the CLRA claim with prejudice.