A US court has urged disgruntled customers to sue Coca-Cola over dubious health claims made for its Vitaminwater product, reports Reuters.
The long-running legal battle began in 2009 when a consumer group took on beverage giant Coca-Cola over what they claimed were misleading health claims made for the marketing of the Vitaminwater product.
Vitaminwater is sold as a fortified beverage that Coca-Cola claimed could promote healthier joints and help consumers fight eye diseases.
The consumers were suing as part of a 'class-action' law suit, in which several claimants, similarly affected, mount a joint legal action on the same point of law.
Their claim has been supported by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, a health group who claim to have debunked most of Coca-Cola's health-related claims made over Vitaminwater.
A US judge this week ruled that the claimants could not sue for compensation, but urged them to file a class-action suit against Coca-Cola to force them to change the labels and marketing of the product.
The judge denied them a class-action claim for damages, because each consumer was claiming different amounts based on what they had spent on the product. They would therefore have to sue Coca-Cola individually.
Coca-Cola claimed victory over the decision.
"(These claims) are without merit and will ultimately be rejected," said spokeswoman Lindsey Raivich.
However, the claimants believe the decision puts them in pole position to successfully tackle Coca-Cola over its marketing of Vitaminwater and to make individual claims for damages.