New Jersey Law Journal
New Jersey's federal district has been made the venue for litigation charging that contaminated food caused death or injury to pets, and attorneys on both sides say a settlement could be a few weeks away.
On Feb. 19, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated suits from around the nation, finding they involve questions of fact common to 31 cases already assigned to U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman, who sits in Camden.
Menu Foods' lawyer, Amy Schulman of DLA Piper in New York City, wrote to Hillman on Feb. 28, saying the parties have made substantial progress during mediation. Hillman gave them until March 19 to report back.
Michael Ferrara Jr. of Cherry Hill, N.J.'s Ferrara Law Firm, who along with co-counsel in Chicago and San Francisco represent a dozen plaintiffs, agrees that his cases are likely to be resolved soon.
Suits were filed soon after Menu Foods Inc., of Ontario, Canada, recalled 60 million containers of 90 brands of pet food early last year. Pet owners alleged that by February 2007, the company was receiving complaints of pet illness and death due to contaminated food. The products contained whole-wheat flour, imported from China, that was later found to be tainted with melamine, a toxin.
The plaintiffs claim unfair and deceptive trade practices; negligence in failing to provide adequate quality control; unjust enrichment and breach of implied and express warranties. Some claim emotional trauma was caused by the death or illness of pets.
The plaintiffs seek compensation for veterinary care, medical monitoring and euthanasia costs.
Defendants besides Menu Foods include distributors Del Monte Foods Inc. of San Francisco; Nestle of Stamford, Conn.; Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati; Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. in Pixian, China; and Suzhou Textile Import and Export Co. in Jiangsu, China. Read the entire article.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008