Simply Orange Juice Lawsuit

A new consumer class action lawsuit was recently filed against Coca-Cola Company, alleging that the company falsely markets its Simply Tropical Juice as all-natural while failing to disclose that they contain high levels of PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are harmful chemicals that have been linked to various health problems.

Can you bring a Simply Orange lawsuit? We talk about that below and give you a February 2024 update on where this litigation stands.

Simply Orange

The Simply Orange Juice Company (Simply), established in 2001 and a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company (Coke), began as a producer and seller of orange juice. Over time, Simply expanded its product range to include various fruit juices, smoothies, and nut milks.

Simply is doing really well. It is the leading chilled juice brand in the United States, generating over $2 billion in annual retail sales. As a dominant player in this highly profitable market, the defendants have a strong motivation to retain their market share. This is especially pertinent given the growing consumer demand for beverages that are both safe and natural, devoid of artificial ingredients.

To leverage this demand, Simply’s marketing strategy aggressively targets health-conscious consumers, prominently featuring “all natural” claims on its product packaging.

About PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that are used in a wide variety of products because of their ability to resist deterioration from water, grease, oil, and other substances. PFAS are frequently called “forever chemicals” because the same properties that make them resistant to deterioration from water and oil also make them resistant to being broken down once released into the environment or the human body.


PFAS tend to build up and accumulate over time inside the body where they can cause major internal problems. PFAS exposure can lead to increased risk of many different types of cancer including. PFAS have also been linked to liver damage, fertility issues, hormone problems, and other health issues.

Mass Torts Involving PFAS

PFAS are already at the center of a major mass tort in the U.S. The AFFF firefighting foam class action lawsuit involves claims by thousands of firefighters who were occupationally exposed to PFAS which are in AFFF foam, a product used by firefighters and the military to extinguish accelerant-based fires. These lawsuits allege that long term exposure to PFAS in these products caused the plaintiffs to develop cancer, liver damage, and other problems.

The AFFF class action lawsuit also includes claims by hundreds of local municipalities claiming that their drinking water systems have been contaminated by PFAS. These cases claim that PFAS from firefighting foam used during training exercises has seeped into groundwater aquifers making the public water system unsafe.

PFAS has also generated a number of consumer class action lawsuits after they have been detected in high levels in various products such as cosmetics and food storage containers.

Simply Orange Juice Lawsuit

The Simply Tropical class action lawsuit claims that Simply Tropical juice, produced by The Simply Orange Juice Company—a subsidiary of Coca-Cola—contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” These substances are notorious for their persistence in the environment and potential health risks to humans.

PFAS are durable synthetic chemicals known for their slow degradation rate and their ability to accumulate in human bodies. The EPA has linked these chemicals to several health issues, including reproductive challenges, developmental delays in children, a higher likelihood of certain cancers, and a weakened immune response. We knew how awful these chemicals were years ago. But as the science has evolved, it is growing so much clearer. This stuff can kill you.

The lawsuit, filed by purchasers of Simply Tropical juice, accuses Coca-Cola of misleading consumers by promoting the juice as being crafted from “all natural” ingredients, despite independent tests revealing the presence of PFAS in the juice.

The legal complaint emphasizes that Coca-Cola and The Simply Orange Juice Company distinguish their product in the marketplace by assuring consumers of its all-natural composition, claiming transparency with “nothing to hide.” This case was initiated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit, filed against Coca-Cola and its subsidiary The Simply Orange Juice Company in the Southern District of New York, has a lead plaintiff who is filing the case on behalf of all similarly situated parties. In this case, that includes everyone who bought Simply Tropical Juice made by The Simply Orange Juice Company. So that would include most people reading this.

PFAS Allegation

The lawsuit claims that Simply Tropical and Simply Orange is labeled and marketed as “All Natural” and claims that is “made simply” with “all-natural ingredients.” However, the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff has performed lab testing on Simply Tropical which confirms that the juice actually contains PFAS, synthetic chemicals which are obviously not natural.

Of course, the the product does not mention the inclusion of PFAS or any other synthetic chemicals within its ingredients. The defendants assert that the only constituents are filtered water, fruit juice and puree, cane sugar, and natural flavors, omitting any mention of synthetic additives.

Plaintiffs’ lawsuit goes recites the known health risks of PFAS:

PFAS are a group of synthetic, man-made, chemicals known to be harmful to both humans and the environment. Because PFAS persist and accumulate over time, they are harmful even at very low levels. Indeed, “PFAS have been shown to have a number of toxicological effects in laboratory studies and have been associated with thyroid disorders, immunotoxicity effects, and various cancers in epidemiology studies.

In fact, scientists are studying—and are extremely concerned about—how PFAS affect human health. Consequently, the CDC outlined “a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

The crux of the lawsuit is that the presence of PFAS is completely inconsistent with the marketing of Simply Tropical as an all natural juice product with natural ingredients. The Complaint asserts that this is false and misleading marketing in violation of various consumer protection laws.

The Complaint just makes a general allegation that third-party laboratory testing has shown “material levels” of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) contained in Simply Tropical. It does not specifically state the levels of PFAS found in the juice, but claims that they were found in excess of the EPA recommended levels for drinking water.

Two PFAS Alleged to be in Simply Orange

The two types of PFAS found in the Simply Tropical juice (PFOA and PFOS) are actually the most well-understood types with the most extensive body of scientific research on their health impact. Studies have shown that these PFAS can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, growth and development, the immune system and more. The class action Complaint emphasizes this point when it claims that the Simply Tropical juice:

exposes hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting consumers, many of whom are children, to toxic synthetic chemicals at levels far beyond what the EPA deems safe, in direct contradiction to their uniform representations.

How Does the Simply Orange Lawsuit Work?

This is not a personal injury lawsuit.  This is a consumer class action lawsuit. So in the context of the lawsuit against Coca-Cola and The Simply Orange Juice Company concerning Simply Tropical juice, a consumer class action lawsuit serves as a collective legal action initiated by individuals who allege they were misled by the company’s claims that its juice was “all natural,” despite it containing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

This lawsuit differs from a personal injury lawsuit in several key aspects:

  1. Collective vs. Individual Claims: The class action represents a collective claim by a large group of individuals (the “class”) who have been similarly affected by Coca-Cola’s alleged actions. This contrasts with a personal injury lawsuit, where an individual (or a small group of individuals) files a lawsuit seeking compensation for harm suffered directly due to another party’s negligence or wrongful action.
  2. Nature of Damages: In a class action lawsuit like the one against Simply Orange, the damages sought are typically for deceptive marketing practices that led to the purchase of a product under false pretenses. In contrast, a personal injury lawsuit would seek damages for direct physical or emotional harm suffered due to a defendant’s actions.
  3. Purpose and Scope: The purpose of the consumer class action against Coca-Cola is not only to seek compensation for all affected consumers but also to hold the company accountable for misleading marketing practices and potentially encourage changes in how products are labeled and marketed. A personal injury lawsuit, however, focuses on compensating the plaintiff for specific harms suffered.

Regarding whether an individual can file their own lawsuit in the context of the class action, the answer depends on the specifics of the case and the legal strategy preferred by the affected parties.

In general, members of a class action lawsuit are automatically included in the lawsuit and will share in any settlement or judgment, unless they choose to opt out. Opting out would allow an individual to pursue their own legal action independently, which might be preferred if they believe their damages are significantly different or more extensive than those contemplated by the class action.

But, again, proving direct harm (such as a specific health issue caused by PFAS exposure from Simply Tropical juice) and attributing it to the product could be challenging. The science linking PFAS exposure from consumer products to specific health outcomes is complex and evolving, which could impact the viability of individual lawsuits based on personal injury claims. Our lawyers do not believe the science at this point would sustain such a claim.

Coca-Cola’s Motion to Dismiss

In October 2023, Coca-Cola filed a motion to dismiss this lawsuit. Its argument is that the plaintiff fails to demonstrate he suffered any harm or received less value than expected, as he received the juice he paid for without adverse effects. Additionally, Coca-Cola argues the plaintiff does not prove the product he consumed contained PFAS, only referencing unspecified “third-party testing” of a single product sample.

Coca Cola also makes the argument that the plaintiff hasn’t convincingly argued that a reasonable consumer would be misled by the product’s labeling. This is a tough argument because the question of whether the plaintiff was misled is probably more of a jury question.

It also argues that the plaintiff’s claims under New York Agriculture and Markets Law are unfounded, as the statute does not support a private right of action for the alleged issues.

Finally, and I think this is ridiculous, Coca-Cola claim that the omissions are preempted by FDA regulations, which do not require disclosure of incidental substances like PFAS – as if putting PFAS in a product you drink is incidental.

As of February 2024, the court has yet to rule on this motion.

Can I File My Own Simply Orange Lawsuit in the Class Action?

Many people want to know if they can file their own Simply Orange lawsuit.

Anyone harmed can always file a lawsuit.  But proving that PFAS or anything other ingredient in Simply Tropical Juice or Simply Orange suit is the cause of cancer or any other injury would be a challenge.  Maybe the science evolves that you an connect harmful chemical in Simply Orange and cancer from PFAS.

Our lawyers are unaware of any law firm taking on these cases. We are not.

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