Walmart Faces Class Action Over Contaminated Romaine Lettuce

Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Taylor Farms are facing a nationwide class action lawsuit over allegations it sold packaged salad containing romaine lettuce that was contaminated with E.coli bacteria, despite being labeled as “triple washed and ready to enjoy.”

Plaintiffs RIck Musgrave and Margaret Gray brought the Walmart class action lawsuit on the heels of a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections and the subsequent CDC announcement that romaine lettuce from farms in the Yuma, Arizona growing region was the likely source out the outbreak. People across 25 states reported E. coli infections linked to the contaminated romaine lettuce. Thirty-one people were hospitalized, including five who developed kidney failure. There was also one recorded death.

Taylor Farms produces romaine lettuce crops in Arizona and sells its products in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. The packaged lettuce products are marketed as “fresh, handcrafted salads that are convenient, ready-to-eat” and “triple washed and ready to enjoy,”

Shortly after news of the outbreak, Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, issued a recall for Taylor Farms products with romaine lettuce, stating that “[w]e were notified that Taylor Farms, as a result of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public advisory, has initiated a withdrawal on the items listed below due to the potential to be contaminated with E. coli.”

The recall listed the following Taylor Farms’ products with romaine lettuce:

  • Taylor Farms Fiesta Chopped Salad Kit with Grilled Chicken
  • Taylor Farms Southwest Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Caesar Kit Family Size
  • Taylor Farms Chopped Romaine
  • Taylor Farms Romaine Blend
  • Taylor Farms Farmhouse Bacon Chopped Salad

According to court documents, Musgrave and Gray say that Walmart, while posting information about the Taylor Farms romaine lettuce recall on its website, the retail giant failed to offered refunds to its customers or post any notices in its stores regarding the contamination. This, they allege, put potentially tens of thousands of Taylor Farms consumers at risk for E.coli infections or worse.

“As a result of Defendants processing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling Taylor Farms’ products with romaine lettuce without taking the proper precautions, Defendants placed in the stream of commerce products that are unusable, unsafe, and have caused purchasers and consumers of those products to suffer or potentially suffer illness, as well as the loss of monies.”

In fact, Musgrave shares that he and his wife became violently sick for several days after purchasing and consuming the contaminated Taylor Farms romaine lettuce products. Additionally, Gray details in the Walmart contaminated romaine lettuce class action that she became ill with stomach issues after purchasing and consuming Taylor Farms Romaine Blend Salad.

Both plaintiffs are seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased Taylor Farms Romaine Lettuce Products between February 1, 2018 to the present, as well as a California subclass. They are asking the court to award punitive damages along with restitution.

Musgrave and Gray are represented by Timothy Fisher, Blair E. Reed, and Scott A. Bursor of Bursor & Fisher PA.

The Walmart Contaminated Romaine Lettuce Class Action Lawsuit is Musgrave, et al. v. Taylor Farms Pacific Inc., et al., Case No. 4:18-cv-02841-SBA, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Walmart Class Action Challenges Glucosamine Supplements Labeling

If you are taking Walmart’s glucosamine supplements, check your labels! You may not be getting what you are paying for, according to a recently filed nationwide consumer class action lawsuit challenging Walmart’s labeling of its store-brand Spring Valley glucosamine tablets.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is produced naturally in humans. It is not approved by the FDA for medical use in humans and is classified as a dietary supplement. People take glucosamine to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma, joint pain, back pain, and more.

Plaintiffs Cynthia Parker, Reba Garth, Margaret Herrin, and Shirley Reinhard filed the Walmart class action last week in Missouri federal court, alleging the retail giant breaks promises and repeatedly violates federal and state laws by deceptively selling its Spring Valley glucosamine supplements with mislabeled ingredients. Specifically, the lawsuit says that while Walmart labels the supplements as containing glucosamine sulfate, they actually are made up of glucosamine hydrochloride and potassium sulfate – less expensive ingredients with reportedly no proven health benefits.

“While it is possible to chemically convert glucosamine hydrochloride to glucosamine sulfate, this was not done in the creation of [Walmart]’s supplements. Labelling this supplement as glucosamine sulfate is chemically inaccurate and misleading,” the Walmart class action states.

In fact, there is conflicting evidence that glucosamine hydrochloride is effective in treating osteoarthritis, while glucosamine sulfate has been shown to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, in knees in particular. Still, according to the 35-page complaint, Walmart sells its glucosamine tablets with this allegedly false labeling in order to dupe consumers into thinking they are purchasing a health supplement that is in reality questionable as to its true benefits.

On top of that, Walmart is purportedly lining its wallets by charging a premium for their allegedly mislabeled Spring Valley glucosamine supplements: $8.88 for bottles of 120 tablets or $11.48 for bottles of 200 tablets. Each of the named plaintiffs contend that had they known the Walmart glucosamine supplement did not contain Glucosamine Sulfate as labeled, they never would have paid those amounts.

Parker, Garth, Herrin, and Reinhard are seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased a dietary supplement labeled Glucosamine Sulfate but instead contained Glucosamine Hydrochloride from Walmart, as well as four separate state-based subclasses: Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Among monetary relief, the Walmart class action lawsuit is asking the court to issue an order requiring the retailer to recall dietary supplements containing Glucosamine Hydrochloride.

The plaintiffs are represented by Eric S. Johnson, Paul J. Hanly, Jr. and Mitchell M. Breit of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC; and Gregory F. Coleman, Mark E. Silvey, Adam A. Edwards and Lisa A. White of Greg Coleman Law PC.

The Walmart Mislabeled Glucosamine Tablets Class Action Lawsuits is Cynthia Parker, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Case No. 4:18-cv-00465, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Walmart Class Action Says Organic Marketside Eggs Not Really “Farm Fresh”

Walmart has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging their Organic Marketside eggs are falsely advertised as being “farm fresh” when reportedly the laying hens are confined inside industrial poultry houses with no access to the outdoors.

Plaintiff Donnie Lee Gibson II filed the false advertising class action lawsuit against Walmart and Cal-Main Foods on January 8 in California federal court. Gibson asserts the companies market Organic Marketside eggs as having provided the laying hens “with outdoor access” and take advantage of consumers who will pay more for eggs labeled as “farm fresh”.

Cal-Maine produces these alleged “farm fresh” eggs at its 24,000 square-foot plant in Chase, Kansas, for marketing and sale under the Organic Marketside private label for its top customer – Walmart. These store brand eggs are advertised as laid by hens “free to roam, nest, and perch in a protected barn with outdoor access” and are priced at $3.97 a dozen, compared to $1.86 a dozen for the conventional Walmart Great Value brand eggs.

However, the lawsuit points to an investigation showing that the Cal-Main hens supplying the private label eggs for Walmart actually do not have access to the outdoors. Instead, the hundreds of thousands of laying hens are kept enclosed in eight different industrial barns and never step foot out onto the pastures surrounding these structures. According to recent images included in the complaint, the industrial barns have small barred and screened porches that are fully roofed, but do not actually provide access to the outdoors.

“Thus, consumers paying more for these eggs have been deceived. Defendants falsely advertise their ‘farm fresh’ eggs as having been laid by hens ‘with outdoor access,’ such that they have failed to meet their basic obligation of truthfulness to consumers.”

Many consumers nowadays are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, and often make purchasing decisions based on packaging labels. When food labels indicate “farm fresh” or “organic”, a reasonable consumer assumes that the product originates from an animal that has access to outdoor pastures and fresh air throughout the day. Furthermore, many consumers believe that outdoor access means natural ground and not concrete and vegetation that the animals can graze on.

The Organic Marketside eggs false advertising class action lawsuit further states that Gibson, nor other similarly situated consumers, would have purchased or paid a premium price if they had known the truth about the Organic Marketside eggs.

Gibson is seeking to represent a certified class of consumers who purchased Cal-Maine shell eggs sold under the Organic Marketside private label for Walmart in California since 2014.

Along with class restitution and injunctive relief, the Walmart Organic Marketside Eggs class action lawsuit is asking for an order enjoining Cal-Main and Walmart to stop its “unfair and deceptive” marketing practices.

Gibson and the proposed class are represented by Elaine T. Byszewski and Steve W. Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

The Walmart Organic Marketside Eggs Class Action Lawsuit is Gibson, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Case No. 4:18-cv-00134-KAW, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.