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Maine Springs, LLC v. Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 18, 2015

MAINE SPRINGS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
NESTLÉ WATERS NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendant.

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

GEORGE Z. SINGAL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Nestle Waters North America Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Complaint Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) with Incorporated Memorandum of Law (ECF No. 13) ("Motion to Dismiss"). For the reasons explained below, the Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss Count One for lack of Article III standing, and Count Two is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

A. Maine Springs

Plaintiff, Maine Springs, LLC ("Maine Springs") was founded seven years ago for the purpose of establishing a bottled water operation in Poland Spring, Maine. (Compl. and Demand for Jury Trial (ECF No. 1) ("Compl.") ¶ 8 at Page ID# 4.) Maine Springs owns the natural springs, bottling facility, bulk water facility and necessary equipment for bottled water operations. (Id. ¶ 9.) The bottling facility is located in Poland Spring, Maine, and the bulk water facility is located approximately 2 miles away in Poland, Maine. (Id.) Each has its own spring water source. (Id.) In 2007, Maine Springs acquired permits that make it the holder of the single largest natural spring water withdrawal permit issued by the State of Maine.[2] (Id. ¶ 10.) Maine Springs formed its business with the intention to serve customers in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. (Id.)

B. Nestle Waters and Poland Spring® Brand Water

Defendant, Nestle Waters North America Inc. ("Nestle Waters"), a business unit of Nestle, S.A., is engaged in the business of locating and managing sources of water, extracting and obtaining water for bottled water products, bottling water, developing packing and marketing of bottled water, selling and distributing bottled water products to consumers, and delivering bottled water products to consumers nationally, including in the State of Maine. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Nestle Waters is the largest bottled drinking water company in the United States. (Id. ¶ 6.) Nestle Waters maintains a 31.6% share of all bottled water sales in the United States, which leads the next bottled water manufacturer, Niagara, by almost double. (Id. ¶ 7.) Nestle Waters markets 15 brands of water, including its Poland Spring® Brand, which is America's leading brand of bottled water. (Id. ¶¶ 8 at PageID# 3, 19.)

Nestle Waters represents to its consumers that it's Poland Spring® Brand bottled water is 100 percent natural spring water. (Id. ¶ 19.) Its label contains the description: "100% Natural Spring Water." (Id.) The Nestle Waters' Poland Spring® Brand water website states:

Born Better. ® Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water is sourced only from carefully selected springs, and contains naturally occurring minerals for a crisp, clean taste. http://www.polandspring.com/
There are over three hundred fifty-eight million trillion gallons of water on Earth. But not all water is created equal. Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water comes only from carefully selected mountain springs that are continually replenished. What starts out as rain and snow, soaks into the ground and is filtered naturally by the earth with a distinct composition of minerals to create our crisp, refreshing taste.
http://www.polandspring.com/#/assured/our_quality
Every drop of Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water comes from carefully selected spring sources and is captured at the source.
http://www.polandspring.com/#/assured/our_quality

(Compl. ¶ 20.) Video content and script on the website additionally demonstrates to the viewer that the water that is bottled as Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water is uniquely naturally ...


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