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The Associated Press July 6, 2010, 4:03PM ET

Wrigley agrees to settle Eclipse suit

Chewing gum maker W.M. Wrigley Jr. has agreed to pay as much as $7 million and change how it markets and labels its Eclipse gum to settle a lawsuit that alleged its ads were misleading, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Tuesday.

Consumers sued Wrigley last year in federal court arguing the subsidiary of privately held Mars Inc. made misleading advertising claims about the germ-killing properties of Eclipse.

The ads said a new ingredient -- magnolia bark extract -- kills the germs that cause bad breath while competing gums merely mask bad breath.

As part of the settlement, Wrigley will change how it markets and labels its gum. It agreed to pay $6 million to $7 million to a fund that will reimburse consumers up to $10 each for the product and cover other costs of the settlement, according to the law firms Blood Hurst & O'Reardon and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd.

Wrigley said in a statement that it agreed to the settlement to prevent continuing distraction from its business. It denied any wrongdoing. The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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