Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dairy diet litigation gets booted from E.D. Va.

The Washington Post reported here on the dismissal of litigation against the dairy industry for promotion of the "dairy diet." The article says in part:

"But a federal judge has ruled that under Virginia law, Holmes and other people can't take on the industry in court -- only a government entity such as the Virginia attorney general's office can. The decision last week by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in Alexandria threw out the lawsuit Holmes filed last year.

In her ruling last Thursday, Brinkema said Virginia consumer protection law allows people to seek monetary damages but not a broad injunction regulating an industry. She did not address the science of the debate, writing that such federal agencies as the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission are better equipped to do so.

In the lawsuit, filed in Alexandria Circuit Court and moved to federal court, the physicians committee accused the dairy industry of promoting the weight-loss notion through a "massive, deceptive advertising campaign." The committee says overwhelming scientific evidence shows that dairy products cause weight gain or have no effect. The only studies showing otherwise, the committee contends, are industry-funded.

Holmes is the sole plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed against such companies as General Mills Inc. and the Dannon Co. Inc. and three dairy industry trade groups. In addition to damages for Holmes, the suit seeks an order halting the dairy industry campaign."

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