Nestlé Sued For Allegedly Misrepresenting “Spring” Water Sold in 5-Gallon Jugs

Nestlé is being sued for allegedly misrepresenting municipally-sourced water as naturally, spring-sourced in 5-gallon jugs of Ice Mountain Water used for office dispensers.  The complaint notes that bottled water often comes from municipal sources (i.e. taps) and alleges that bottled water from special sources such as a spring commands a premium and stands out in a crowded marketplace.  Plaintiff — the Chicago Faucet Shoppe — purchased the 5-gallon jugs beginning in 2008 and alleges that during the entire time it believed it was purchasing spring-sourced water based on invoices stating “Ice Mountain® Natural Spring Water,” delivery trucks that included the “Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water” logo, and the overall marketing of the products, which stress natural spring sources for the water products.

As the above image illustrates, many ICE MOUNTAIN water products include the text “100% Natural Spring Water” the 5-gallon jug is offered in “Spring,” “Drinking” and “Distilled” varieties, the later two of which may come from “well or municipal supply” according to this document.  Allegedly, though, this information does not appear on the 5-gallon jugs or the Ice Mountain Water website.

Initially filed in Illinois state court as a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri, the case was removed to federal by Nestlé and is now pending in the Northern District of Illinois as The Chicago Faucet Shoppe, Inc. v. Nestlé Waters North America, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-08199.  See full complaint here.

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