Moore v. Mars Petcare US, Inc., No. 18-15026 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against pet food manufacturers and others, challenging the marketing of so-called prescription pet food under California's consumer protection laws and federal antitrust law. Plaintiffs alleged that the prescription requirement and advertising lead reasonable consumers falsely to believe that such food has been subject to government inspection and oversight, and has medicinal and drug properties, causing consumers to pay more or purchase the product when they otherwise would not have.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims under California's Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act for failure to state a claim. The panel held that the district court erred in dismissing the California state law consumer protection claims, because plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a deceptive practice under the reasonable consumer test. The panel also held that plaintiffs' complaint satisfies the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) heightened pleading standard in alleging fraud. In this case, plaintiffs alleged sufficient facts to show that prescription pet food and other pet food were not materially different. Finally, the panel held that plaintiffs alleged sufficient reliance based on the word "prescription" and the "Rx" symbol.