A federal judge in western Pennsylvania will soon be handling a putative class action
involving allegations that Del Monte Corp. and Milo’s Kitchen LLC made false and misleading representations relating to a pet snack called Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.
The record shows that two plaintiffs, North Carolina resident Maxine Ruff and California resident Mary Emily Funke, filed separate complaints against the defendants a week apart from one another over claims that the defendants represented that the dog treats were wholesome and nutritious when in reality they were contaminated.
The two woman also allege that the defendants failed to warn them and the putative class members of the supposed contaminations.
In an order dated April 9, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, of the Northern District of California, granted a defense motion to transfer the case, although the jurist simultaneously denied a bid to dismiss the litigation.
The case is now heading to the Western District of Pennsylvania, with White writing that that venue is appropriate, although there was never any oral argument held in the matter, according to the judge’s memorandum.
According to White’s order, the two defendants had moved to transfer the litigation to Pittsburgh, which is where another case against the same two companies is pending.
That pending case was initiated on July 19 of last year by Lisa Mazur, whose lawsuit contains similar allegations as those filed by the North Carolina and California plaintiffs.
White, in his recent order, also denied a plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate the Ruff and Funke cases with that of Mazur in Pennsylvania, although he did so without prejudice.
In agreeing to transfer the cases, however, White wrote that each of the three lawsuits raise similar claims based on allegations that Del Monte and Milo’s Kitchen misrepresented the wholesome nature of the dog treats and failed to adequately warn consumers of the alleged dangers involved.
White wrote that the parties in the various lawsuits are free to raise the consolidation issues with the judge who is assigned the case once it arrives in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The court record shows that the litigation involves dogs that became sick and died after ingesting the chicken flavored pet treats sold by Del Monte and Milo’s Kitchen.
According to the website Courthouse News Service, Del Monte was one of a dozen manufacturers who participated in a $24 million settlement in 2011 over allegations that wet dog food had been contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid.
Despite the settlement, the lawsuits apparently kept pouring in against Del Monte and Milo’s.
Aside from the Mazur case filed in Pennsylvania, a man named Christopher Langone filed his own civil action alleging similar claims in September 2011 in San Francisco.
Langone, however, voluntarily dismissed his case four months later, Courthouse News Service reported.