Proposed Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pet Food Company Involved in Ongoing Recall
We previously discussed a December 30, 2020 alert from FDA regarding recalls by Midwestern Pet Food, Inc. of nine total lots of Sportmix pet food products following reports of death and illness in dogs after consuming the products. As discussed in an updated alert, the recall was expanded on January 11, 2021 to include all pet food products containing corn (more than 1000 lot codes of dog food and cat food) that were made in the firm’s Oklahoma plant and that expire on or before July 9, 2022. As of FDA’s updated, January 26, 2021 alert, more than 110 pets have died and more than 210 pets are sick after have consumed certain pet food manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods. Another recent recall of dog food (September 2, 2020 by Sunshine Mills, Inc.) was triggered by a finding of elevated levels of aflatoxin in routine sampling of a single 4-pound bag of one lot of product but has not been associated with any deaths or illness.
On January 28, 2021, a group of consumers with dogs that died or became ill after consuming the now-recalled product from Midwestern Pet Foods have filed a proposed class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of a nationwide class and a California state class of buyers of Midwestern Pet Foods’ cat and dog foods. The plaintiffs, who allege negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment, seek restitution and over $5 million in damages to be determined in a jury trial.
It is yet to be seen how Midwestern Pet Foods will respond. In earlier litigation following a pet food recall in 2005-2006 associated with aflatoxin contamination and involving a large number of deaths in dogs, it was reported that Diamond Pet Foods, Inc. agreed to pay $3.1 million dollars in a settlement with pet owners.