Beardsall v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 19-1850 (7th Cir. 2020)

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Justia Opinion Summary

Defendant manufactures aloe vera gel, sold under its own brand and as private‐label versions. Suppliers harvest, fillet, and de-pulp aloe vera leaves. The resulting aloe is pasteurized, filtered, treated with preservatives, and dehydrated for shipping. Defendant reconstitutes the dehydrated aloe and adds stabilizers, thickeners, and preservatives to make the product shelf‐stable. The products are 98% aloe gel and 2% other ingredients. Labels describe the product as aloe vera gel that can be used to treat dry, irritated, or sunburned skin. One label calls the product “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” An asterisk leads to information on the back of the label: “Plus stabilizers and preservatives to insure [sic] potency and efficacy.” Each label contains an ingredient list showing aloe juice and other substances.

Plaintiffs brought consumer deception claims, alleging that the products did not contain any aloe vera and lacked acemannan, a compound purportedly responsible for the plant’s therapeutic qualities. Discovery showed those allegations to be false. Plaintiffs changed their theory, claiming that the products were degraded and did not contain enough acemannan so that it was misleading to represent them as “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel,” and to market the therapeutic effects associated with aloe vera. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants. There was no evidence that some concentration of acemannan is necessary to call a product aloe or to produce a therapeutic effect, nor evidence that consumers care about acemannan concentration.

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In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 19 1850 JENNIFER BEARDSALL, et al., Plaintiffs Appellants, v. CVS PHARMACY, INC., et al., Defendants Appellees. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:16 cv 06103 — Joan H. Lefkow, Judge. ____________________ ARGUED JANUARY 15, 2020 — DECIDED MARCH 24, 2020 ____________________ Before BAUER, EASTERBROOK, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge. Plainti s brought state consumer deception claims against defendant Fruit of the Earth and its retailer clients. They alleged that defendants’ aloe vera prod ucts did not contain any aloe vera and lacked acemannan, a compound that plainti s say is responsible for the plant’s 2 No. 19 1850 therapeutic qualities. But uncontested facts drawn from dis covery showed these allegations to be false: the products were made from aloe vera and contained at least some acemannan. To stave o summary judgment, plainti s changed their theory, claiming that the products were degraded and did not contain enough acemannan. Plainti s said that it was therefore misleading to call the products aloe vera gel, to represent them as “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel,” and to market them as providing the therapeutic e ects associated with aloe vera. Plainti s have not, however, presented evidence that some concentration of acemannan is necessary to call a product aloe or to produce a therapeutic e ect. Nor have they o ered evi dence that consumers care at all about acemannan concentra tion. Whatever theoretical merit these claims might have had on a di erent record, this record simply does not contain evi dence that would allow a reasonable jury to find in favor of plainti s. With this dearth of evidence, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. We af firm. I. Undisputed Facts and Procedural Background A. Facts Defendant Fruit of the Earth, Inc. manufactures aloe vera gel. It both sells the product under its own brand and pro duces private label versions for defendants CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target. At issue in this appeal are the Fruit of the Earth and Walgreens products. The two aloe vera gels are indisputably made from aloe vera plants, though the raw aloe vera harvested by Fruit of the Earth’s suppliers is processed both before and after being delivered to Fruit of the Earth. The suppliers harvest, fillet, No. 19 1850 3 and depulp the aloe vera leaves. The resulting aloe is then pasteurized, filtered with active charcoal to remove color and impurities, treated with preservatives, and dehydrated for shipping. Fruit of the Earth then reconstitutes the dehydrated aloe and adds stabilizers, thickeners, and preservatives to make the final gel product shelf stable. The parties agree that the products are 98% aloe gel (the reconstituted aloe vera sol ids) and 2% other ingredients (stabilizers and preservatives). The only relevant di erence between the products is the labeling. Both labels describe the respective products as aloe vera gel. Both also indicate that the products can be used to treat dry, irritated, or sunburned skin. The Fruit of the Earth label calls the product “Aloe Vera 100% Gel” and “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” An asterisk after “100% Gel” leads to infor mation on the back of the label: “Plus stabilizers and preserv atives to insure [sic] potency and e cacy.” Each label contains an ingredient list showing that the product contains aloe juice and various other substances. The two labels are reproduced in the attached appendix.1 B. Procedural History Plainti s filed state law consumer deception claims against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Tar get alleging that the labeling of the aloe vera gels—manufac 1 Two distinct Fruit of the Earth labels were presented to the district court: one contained an additional asterisk after “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel” leading to the same disclaimer as the front. On appeal, plaintiffs have included in their brief a version of the bottle without an asterisk (repro duced in the Appendix). Defendants have included in their brief a version of the bottle with an asterisk. Our decision does not depend on this differ ence. 4 No. 19 1850 tured by Fruit of the Earth and sold under all of the defend ants’ brands—was misleading. The district court adopted a bifurcated approach to discovery, allowing fact discovery for the Fruit of the Earth and Walgreens products to proceed and staying litigation over the others. The court then set a dead line for class certification, Daubert motions, and dispositive motions. After discovery was complete, plainti s moved for class certification. Fruit of the Earth and Walgreens moved to ex clude the testimony of plainti s’ experts and moved for sum mary judgment. The district court denied defendants’ motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Edwards, plainti s’ expert whose testimony focused on the amount of acemannan in de fendants’ products. The court granted summary judgment in favor of Fruit of the Earth and Walgreens, finding no evidence that the aloe gel labels would be likely to deceive a reasonable consumer. Plainti s’ motion for class certification and de fendants’ motion to exclude plainti s’ damages expert were denied as moot. The parties then stipulated to the entry of a final judgment in favor of all defendants, and plainti s have appealed. II. Analysis We review a grant of summary judgment de novo, taking the facts in the light most favorable to the non moving parties. Suchanek v. Sturm Foods, Inc., 764 F.3d 750, 761 (7th Cir. 2014). Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251–52 (1986) (question on summary judgment is “whether the evi No. 19 1850 5 dence presents a su cient disagreement to require submis sion to a jury”). Though the movant bears the burden of show ing that summary judgment is appropriate, the non moving party “may not rest upon mere allegations in the pleadings or upon conclusory statements in a davits; it must go beyond the pleadings and support its contentions with proper docu mentary evidence.” Warsco v. Preferred Tech. Grp., 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986). A. Legal Standard Plainti s have brought claims under fourteen consumer protection statutes spanning twelve di erent states.2 These 2 Count I: California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1750 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, Target, and Walgreens); Count II: California False Advertising Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, Target, and Walgreens); Count III: California Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, Target, and Walgreens); Count IV: Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fla. Stat. § 501.201 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, and Walgreens); Count V: Illinois Con sumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. 505/1 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart); Count VI: Michigan Consumer Protection Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.901 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth and CVS); Count VII: Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.010 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth and CVS); Count VIII: New Hampshire Regulation of Business Practices for Consumer Protection, N.H. Rev. Stat. § 358 A:1 et seq. (against CVS); Count IX: New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. Stat. § 56:8 1 et seq. (against CVS); Count X: N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth, CVS, and Walgreens); Count XI: North Carolina Unfair and De ceptive Trade Practices Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75 1.1 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth); Count XII: Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, Ohio Rev. Code § 1345.01 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth); Count XIII: Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Or. Rev. Stat. § 646.605 et seq. (against Fruit of the 6 No. 19 1850 statutes all require plainti s to prove that the relevant labels are likely to deceive reasonable consumers. See, e.g., Suchanek, 764 F.3d at 756–57 (applying California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York law, among others); Fink v. Time Warner Cable, 714 F.3d 739, 741 (2d Cir. 2013) (applying California and New York law). A label is deceptive if it is likely to mislead a reasonable consumer in a material respect, even if it is not literally false. Suchanek, 750 F.3d at 762, citing Williams v. Gerber Prods. Co., 552 F.3d 934, 938 (9th Cir. 2008), and Kraft, Inc. v. FTC, 970 F.2d 311, 314 (7th Cir. 1992) (applying Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45); see also Bober v. Glaxo Wellcome PLC, 246 F.3d 934, 938 (7th Cir. 2001) (applying Illinois law) (“[A] statement is deceptive if it creates a likelihood of deception or has the capacity to deceive.”); Ebner v. Fresh, Inc., 838 F.3d 958, 965 (9th Cir. 2016) (applying California law) (“[T]he reasona ble consumer standard requires a probability that a significant portion of the general consuming public or of targeted con sumers, acting reasonably in the circumstances, could be mis led.”) (internal quotation marks omitted); Zlotnick v. Premier Sales Grp., Inc., 480 F.3d 1281, 1284 (11th Cir. 2007) (applying Florida Law) (“[D]eception occurs if there is a representation, omission, or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer’s det riment.”). This determination of the likelihood of deception “is an impressionistic one more closely akin to a finding of fact than a conclusion of law.” Suchanek, 764 F.3d at 762, quot ing Kraft, 970 F.2d at 317. Earth); Count XIV: Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 17.41 et seq. (against Fruit of the Earth). No. 19 1850 7 B. Theories of Deception Plainti s present three distinct but closely related theories of deception. First, they say it is misleading for defendants to call the products “aloe vera gel” because they have only low concentrations of acemannan. Second, they say the labels are misleading because the products do not provide the thera peutic e ects that one would expect from a product marketed as aloe vera gel. And third, they say the Fruit of the Earth label is particularly misleading by referring to the product as “Aloe Vera 100% Gel” and “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” We address each theory in turn. 1. Acemannan Concentration and Aloe Vera Gel Plainti s argue primarily that defendants’ labels are de ceptive because the products do not contain enough ace mannan to be marketed as “aloe vera gel.” Acemannan is a polysaccharide found in aloe vera. No reasonable consumer, plainti s argue, would purchase an aloe vera product that contains low concentrations of what plainti s maintain is an important therapeutic component. That might be a viable theory, at least in theory. The prob lem here is that plainti s have not presented any actual evi dence that the label is likely to mislead consumers about the nature or quality of the product. Summary judgment is the proverbial “‘put up or shut up’ moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of events.” Johnson v. Cam bridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). In this case, plainti s needed to o er evidence that reasonable consumers were likely to be misled in a material way. Suchanek, 750 F.3d at 762; see also Eli Lilly & Co. v. Arla Foods, Inc., 893 F.3d 375, 8 No. 19 1850 382 (7th Cir. 2018) (applying Lanham Act: “the plainti ordi narily must produce evidence of actual consumer confusion in order to carry its burden to show that the challenged state ment has ‘the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of its audience’”), quoting Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 819–20 (7th Cir. 1999). Plainti s have presented no evi dence that acemannan concentration itself is actually salient to consumers. Compare Suchanek, 764 F.3d 753–54 (survey ev idence showed that consumers had strongly negative associ ation with instant co ee and viewed it as an inferior product); Kraft, 970 F.2d at 323 (survey evidence showed that consum ers made purchasing decisions based on calcium content of cheese). Nor have plainti s presented evidence that some concentration of acemannan is necessary to render the prod uct e ective.3 Evidence of the acemannan concentration in defendants’ products—or of the raw aloe vera used to produce them—is not enough if the evidence does not give us reason to believe that consumers care about acemannan concentration. The aloe sold to Fruit of the Earth contained 1.01% acemannan by dry weight. Plainti s’ expert testified that fresh aloe—the raw ingredient, not the final product—should contain at least 5% acemannan by dry weight, pointing to a trade organization’s standards. Testing on the defendants’ final product indicated 3 Acemannan is one of numerous possible active substances in aloe vera and has been shown to promote healing. E.g., I. Iacopetti et al., Hya luronic acid, Manuka honey and Acemannan gel: Wound specific applications for skin lesions, 129 Res. in Veterinary Sci. 82, 83 (2020). But neither the relative importance of these active substances nor relevant information on concen tration is in the record. No. 19 1850 9 correspondingly lower concentrations of acemannan in the fi nal product compared to what the expert expected in an aloe product containing undiluted aloe juice.4 Defendants challenge the admissibility of the expert re port providing that data, but this evidence makes no di er ence. Even if the products contained relatively low amounts of acemannan, there is a critical gap in the evidence. Plainti s’ expert never testified that a product with lower acemannan concentration cannot fairly be described as aloe. He also of fered no opinion on the relationship between aloe concentra tion and e cacy. Indeed, plainti s failed in their briefing and at oral argument to point us to any scientific evidence, inside or outside the record, regarding the level of acemannan needed to render an aloe vera product e ective, whatever that might mean. The deposition testimony presented by plainti s cannot fill this evidentiary gap. Some of the plainti s testified that they found the labeling to be misleading, particularly regard ing the characterization of the product as “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” They said nothing about the acemannan content of the products, however. Rather, they all felt misled because 4 The plaintiffs’ expert testified that in undiluted aloe vera products, he would expect to see acemannan concentrations of 200–500 mg/L. De fendants’ products measured 45 mg/L and 65 mg/L using the expert’s method. Plaintiffs at times refer to the amount of acemannan present as “trace,” “infinitesimally small,” “barely detectable,” and “nonexisten[t].” They also insist that the products “d[o] not actually contain any discerna ble acemannan.” We are willing to assume that these statements were not deliberate misrepresentations by counsel but were unchecked vestiges from an earlier stage in the suit when plaintiffs were claiming incorrectly that the products did not contain any aloe vera. Either way, the irony— coming from plaintiffs claiming deceptive advertising—is not lost on us. 10 No. 19 1850 they were incorrectly informed by their lawyers that the prod ucts contain little or no aloe vera. This was all based on the factually inaccurate theory that plainti s later had to aban don. To survive summary judgment, plainti s needed to o er evidence that consumers were materially misled. They did not. As a result, plainti s’ reliance on Suchanek, 764 F.3d 750, Kraft, 970 F.2d 311, and Al Haj v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 17 C 6730, 2019 WL 3202807 (N.D. Ill. July 16, 2019), is not only mis placed but illustrates precisely how their evidence is lacking. In each of those cases, unlike this one, at least some extrinsic evidence was o ered to show how consumers were likely to be materially misled. In Suchanek, a manufacturer sold co ee pods for use in a Keurig machine. The pods contained instant co ee rather than the high quality roasted ground co ee beans that con sumers expected. 764 F.3d at 752–53. The front of the package claimed that the pods contained “naturally roasted soluble and microground Arabica Co ee” made with high quality co ee beans. Id. at 753. The product, however, was more than 95% instant co ee. The plainti s in Suchanek o ered three sur veys showing that consumers expected one product (roasted and ground co ee beans) and received something di erent that they viewed as inferior (instant co ee). Id. at 753–54. We reversed summary judgment because the surveys created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant’s packaging was likely to mislead reasonable consumers. Id. at 762. In Kraft v. FTC, we upheld an FTC order finding that Kraft misrepresented the amount of calcium contained in Kraft No. 19 1850 11 cheese singles. 970 F.2d at 313. The relevant advertising cam paign told consumers that Kraft singles were more expensive than competing cheese slices because they were made using five ounces of milk instead of cheaper ingredients. Id. at 314. While five ounces of milk went into one Kraft single, 30% of the calcium contained in the milk was lost during processing. Kraft’s advertisements implied that one Kraft single provided the same amount of calcium as five ounces of milk. We found substantial evidence supporting the FTC’s con clusion that reasonable consumers would be misled about the calcium content of the product. 970 F.2d at 322. We did not require extrinsic evidence of deception, but that was because we credited the expertise of the FTC, and the misleading na ture of the challenged claim “was reasonably clear from the face of the advertisement.” Id. at 319; see also id. (“Were this a Lanham Act case, a reviewing court in all likelihood would have relied on extrinsic evidence of consumer perceptions.”). But in a rming the FTC’s order, we relied on survey data to establish that the deception was material, that is, that consum ers placed great importance on calcium consumption and that exaggerated calcium content a ected consumers’ decisions to buy Kraft singles. Id. at 323. In Al Haj v. Pfizer, Inc., Judge Feinerman denied summary judgment for defendants on a claim that a label for “Maxi mum Strength” cough syrup was misleading. The plainti s o ered evidence that, as compared to the “Regular Strength” version, the “Maximum Strength” product contained a simi lar or lower active ingredient concentration (depending on the ingredient), twice the dosage volume, and therefore half the number of doses per bottle. 2019 WL 3202807, at *2. Pfizer historically charged consumers more for the “Maximum 12 No. 19 1850 Strength” version and continued this pricing structure even after it reformulated the medicine to weaken the more expen sive “Maximum Strength” version. Id. at *1–2. Pfizer’s own market research indicated that “quite a few” customers would be willing to spend more money on “Maximum Strength” medicine because they perceived it to work better and to provide more value. Id. at *3. And the named plainti herself testified that she believed that the more expensive product she purchased would be more e ective. The court de nied Pfizer’s motion for summary judgment because the lan guage “Maximum Strength” invited customers to assume that, when considering the products side by side, the more expensive “Maximum Strength” had a greater concentration of maximum ingredients and more potency per volume than “Regular Strength.” Id. at *5. But the product was less concen trated, less cost e ective, and contained fewer doses. In Suchanek, Kraft, and Al Haj, the plainti s identified pre cisely how the manufacturers’ advertising was misleading and provided evidence that the misrepresentation mattered to consumers. Plainti s here, in contrast, have o ered no evi dence that the products fell short of consumers’ expectations in any material way. This is not to say that extrinsic evidence in the form of consumer surveys or market research is always needed for a plainti to survive summary judgment or judg ment as a matter of law on a deceptive advertising claim. See, e.g., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc. v. Schwarz Pharma, Inc., 586 F.3d 500, 512 (7th Cir. 2009) (under Lanham Act, “a representation may be so obviously misleading that there is no need to gather evidence that anyone was con fused”). But such evidence is necessary where the advertising is not clearly misleading on its face and materiality is in doubt. No. 19 1850 13 Despite this absence of evidence, plainti s argue that the issue of whether a label is misleading is a question of fact that must proceed to a jury. Courts must be careful at summary judgment to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the plainti and must send the case to a jury whenever a gen uine dispute of material fact exists. See Suchanek, 764 F.3d at 762. But granting summary judgment is appropriate if no rea sonable jury could find that defendants’ labels are likely to mislead reasonable consumers. See Fink, 714 F.3d at 741. Plainti s here have not gone beyond the pleadings and sup ported their claims with the necessary evidence. Warsco, 258 F.3d at 563. Plainti s also suggest that their burden to produce “evi dence of what reasonable consumers believe” the label to mean is “nonsensical.” Not so. The burden we invoke here simply reflects the burden of production and persuasion borne by plainti s in almost all civil litigation. Marion v. Radtke, 641 F.3d 874, 876 (7th Cir. 2011), citing Director, OWCP v. Greenwich Collieries, 512 U.S. 267 (1994). Plainti s also say that summary judgment was inappro priate because the lawsuit was in the “class certification phase.” We reject this argument. Plainti s bear no less of a burden at summary judgment simply because the district court set the same deadline for class certification and sum mary judgment motions. Where plainti s intend to rely on market survey evidence to prove deception, rather than their individual impressions and circumstances, that method of proposed proof may be highly relevant in deciding whether to certify a plainti class. To decide only class certification in a consumer deception case, it may not be necessary for the market surveys to be complete and in the record. The issue at 14 No. 19 1850 class certification is whether plainti s intend to try to prove their case on the merits through evidence common to class members. Whether (later) survey evidence is admissible and probative can be decided on the merits, and of course, a certi fied class can lose on the merits of its claims. E.g., Schleicher v. Wendt, 618 F.3d 679, 685 (7th Cir. 2010). As a response to a mo tion for summary judgment, however, a promise to come for ward with more evidence soon is not su cient. A party who needs more time for necessary factfinding should file a Rule 56(d) motion. Plainti s did not do that here. 2. Therapeutic E cacy Plainti s next argue that the defendants’ labels are mis leading because the products “have little or no therapeutic benefit” due to their lack of acemannan and cannot be used e ectively for their stated purposes. We do not know whether that is correct, but the problem is that plainti s have pre sented no evidence that the products at issue are ine ective or that they do not contain enough acemannan to achieve a therapeutic e ect. Facing this dearth of evidence, plainti s ask us to shift the burden to the defendants to prove that their products are ef fective. But in private consumer deception claims, the plainti bears the burden of proving the defendant’s advertising claim is false or misleading. Private individuals—unlike the Federal Trade Commission—may not bring an action without sup porting evidence and merely demand that the defendant prove the claim it makes for its products. Compare Kwan v. SanMedica Int’l, 854 F.3d 1088, 1096 (9th Cir. 2017) (under Cal ifornia false advertising law, plainti s “do not have the power to require defendants to substantiate their advertising claims”), citing National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc. v. No. 19 1850 15 King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 107 Cal. App. 4th 1336, 1344 (2003), with FTC v. Pantron I Corp., 33 F.3d 1088, 1096 (9th Cir. 1994) (FTC may rely on theory that advertiser lacked reason able basis for its claims). 3. “100% Pure” and Ambiguity Plainti s’ last theory of deception centers on the Fruit of the Earth label’s description of the product as “Aloe Vera 100% Gel” and “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” As best we can tell, plainti s think these phrases are misleading in two ways. First, plainti s say these statements misrepresent the qual ity of the product by giving consumers the impression that the product is “high quality” or “especially e ective” aloe when it is not. But this is just a variant on the argument that the products cannot be called aloe vera gel, and it fails for the same reasons. Plainti s have presented no evidence indicat ing that consumers interpret these as statements of quality. Just as they have presented no evidence showing that some amount of acemannan is needed to call a product aloe vera, they have presented no evidence that some amount of ace mannan is needed to call an aloe vera product “100% pure.” Second, plainti s suggest that the label is misleading be cause the product contains preservatives and stabilizers and is therefore not “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel.” Specifically, plainti s object to the district court’s conclusion that the “100% Gel” and “100% Pure” statements were ambiguous with respect to the presence of stabilizers and preservatives such that the statements could be clarified by the ingredients list. But plainti s conceded in their summary judgment brief and deposition testimony that “the presence of preserva tives—in reasonably small amounts—was acceptable and 16 No. 19 1850 something they expected,” and that “[n]o [p]lainti took the label to mean that there was absolutely nothing other than aloe vera in the bottle.”5 The presence of other substances in the product—and the disclosure of those products in the in gredients list—is therefore irrelevant to the theories plainti s have chosen to pursue. We are skeptical of defendants’ posi tion at oral argument that an asterisk pointing to an ingredi ent list in fine print could save virtually any deceptive slogan claiming purity. Given plainti s’ arguments and testimony, though, we need not decide here whether “100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel” is ambiguous with respect to the presence of stabi lizers and preservatives. Along similar lines, plainti s say that the district court erred in considering the full ingredient list in determining that the label was not deceptive. They point to a Food and Drug Administration regulation, 21 C.F.R. § 701.1(b), which states that the labeling of a cosmetic “may be misleading” by bearing a “name which includes or suggests the name of one or more but not all such ingredients, even though the names of all such ingredients are stated elsewhere in the labeling.” This regulation does not add anything, at least in this case, to the relevant state law. Under the reasonable consumer stand ard, we look holistically at advertising to determine whether it is misleading, Toulon v. Continental Casualty Co., 877 F.3d 725, 739 (7th Cir. 2017) (applying Illinois law), but disclosure 5 At other times, plaintiffs seem to object to defendants’ characteriza tion of the product as “100% Pure” because even though it contains 98% “aloe gel,” the aloe gel is only 1% dehydrated aloe solids and 99% water. This measurement reflects only the fact that the product uses rehydrated aloe. Plaintiffs do not suggest that the products are excessively diluted by the rehydration process. No. 19 1850 17 in an ingredient list cannot cure a clearly misleading state ment. Williams v. Gerber Products Co., 552 F.3d 934, 939 (9th Cir. 2008) (applying California law). The federal regulation says only that labeling may be misleading despite disclosure in an ingredients list. The district court never suggested that the disclosure of the ingredients list necessarily meant that the label could not be misleading.6 The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED. 6 Because the district court did not err in granting summary judgment, we need not consider defendants’ argument that the consumer protection claims fail because they are warranty claims in disguise. 18 No. 19 1850 APPENDIX No. 19 1850 19
Primary Holding
Seventh Circuit rejects consumer deception claims concerning aloe vera gel.

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