A quick update on the The Pom Wonderful LLp v. Welch Foods Inc. et al. Lanham Act case previously blogged about here and here. The case finally saw resolution last week when the jury found that Welch had deceptively marketed its product but Pom had not proven that it suffered lost sales. This left both sides claiming victory.
The jury agreed with Pom that Welch’s labeling and packaging for its White Grape Pomegranate juice was misleading and deceptive. The jury also found that Welch intended to deceive consumers through the labeling and packaging of its product. However, the jury returned an answer of “No” when asked if Pom had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that it suffered injuries consisting of lost sales or lessening of goodwill as a result of Welch’s conduct. As a result, the trial did not proceed to the second stage to determine the amount of injury. Some press reports (here, here and here) have stated that the judge excluded Pom’s damages expert. We talked to Welch’s counsel, Rick Shackelford at Greenberg Traurig LLP, and he explained that the experts were not excluded; rather because the trial did not proceed to the second stage, they simply did not have an opportunity to testify.
Pom views the verdict as a win for Pom and for consumers, since the jury recognized that Welch’s practices were deceptive. Welch's counsel, on the other hand, has noted to us that the verdict was in its favor and that Pom lost the trial. Judgment will be entered either this week or next week. In the meantime, as noted in prior blogs, Pom’s lawyers will not lack for other things to do.
- Randy Shaheen and Deborah Birnbaum