United States District Court, N.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
LAWRENCE E. KAHN, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
December 28, 2015, pro se Plaintiff Cedric Williams commenced
this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) against Defendant
Coca Cola Co., alleging various state tort law causes of
action arising from injuries he sustained after drinking Diet
Coke. Dkt. No. 1 (“Complaint”). Presently before
the Court is Coca-Cola's motion to dismiss. Dkt. Nos. 16
(“Motion”), 16-1 (“Memorandum”).
Williams filed an opposition, Dkt. No. 20
(“Response”),  and Coca-Cola submitted a reply, Dkt.
No. 23 (“Reply”). For the following reasons,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and
denied in part.
has been incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional Facility
(“Clinton C.F.”) since December 2010. Compl.
¶ 4. In April 2015, Williams received an unspecified
number of cans of Diet Coke in a monthly food package at
Clinton C.F. Id. ¶ 5. After consuming Diet
Coke, Williams experienced migraine headaches and impaired
vision, which he attributes to the aspartame contained in
Diet Coke. Id. Williams subsequently developed
anxiety that his consumption of aspartame would lead to
cancer, and that anxiety has caused Williams to suffer from
insomnia. Id. ¶ 9. As a result, Williams
underwent a mental health evaluation. Id. ¶ 6.
Williams now brings several claims against Coca Cola arising
from the injuries he has allegedly suffered since consuming
Diet Coke, including negligence, gross negligence, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, negligent
misrepresentation, and fraud. Id.
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, a “complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A court
must accept as true the factual allegations contained in a
complaint and draw all inferences in favor of the plaintiff.
Allaire Corp. v. Okumus, 433 F.3d 248, 249-50 (2d
Cir. 2006). Plausibility, however, requires “enough
fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of [the alleged misconduct].”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
plausibility standard “asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). “[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces
does not require ‘detailed factual allegations, '
but it demands more than an unadorned,
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Where a court is unable to infer more than the mere
possibility of the alleged misconduct based on the pleaded
facts, the pleader has not demonstrated that she is entitled
to relief and the action is subject to dismissal.
Id. at 678-79.
brings several claims arising from his consumption of Diet
Coke: (1) Coca-Cola was negligent and grossly negligent in
manufacturing, marketing, and distributing Diet Coke
containing aspartame; (2) Coca-Cola negligently inflicted
emotional distress on Williams through its distribution of
Diet Coke; (3) Coca-Cola negligently and fraudulently
misrepresented to the public that aspartame is safe. Compl.
¶¶ 8, 11, 18. In addition to monetary damages,
Williams requests injunctive relief in the form of new
labeling requirements for Coca-Cola products containing
aspartame. Id., Wherefore Clause, ¶ (d).
drugs, and cosmetics are regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration (“FDA”) under the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). 21 U.S.C.
§§ 301, et seq. Under that authority, the
FDA regulates food additives such as aspartame. 21 U.S.C.
§ 348. After an extensive review process, the FDA
approved the use of aspartame as a food additive. 21 C.F.R.
§ 172.804; see also Heller v. Coca-Cola Co.,
646 N.Y.S.2d 524, (“On July 8, 1983, the FDA issued a
final rule that permitted the additional use of Aspartame as
a sweetener in carbonated beverages and carbonated beverage
syrup bases. . . . Before approving this new use, the agency
reviewed, among other things, the stability of Aspartame in
carbonated beverages . . . .”). Therefore, Coca-Cola
argues, all of Williams's state tort law claims should be
dismissed because they are preempted by federal law. Mot. at
Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution
‘invalidates state laws that interfere with, or are
contrary to federal law.'” Bonilla v.
Semple, No. 15-CV-1614, 2016 WL 4582038, at *5 (D. Conn.
Sept. 1, 2016) (quoting U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 2). The
Second Circuit recently outlined the three different types of
(1) express preemption, where Congress has expressly
preempted local law; (2) field preemption, “where
congress has legislated so comprehensively that federal law
occupies an entire field of regulation and leaves no room for
state law”; and (3) conflict preemption, where local
law conflicts with federal law such that it is impossible for
a party to comply with both or the local law is an obstacle
to the achievement of federal objectives.
N.Y. SMSA Ltd. P'ship v. Town of Clarkstown, 612
F.3d 97, 104 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Wachovia Bank, N.A.
v. Burke, 414 F.3d 305, 313 (2d Cir. 2005)). Coca-Cola
argues that both field and conflict preemption apply ...