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Comprehensive list of pet jerky treat lawsuits; how to file a claim

Since the last FDA update on the jerky pet treats, I have been flooded with requests from people wanting help and information about joining a class action lawsuit against a pet treat company. In an effort to assist consumers, I compiled of every known class action complaints involving a pet treat manufacturer in the United States

These class action complaints (lawsuits) are filed on behalf of all consumers in the U.S. who purchased a pet food or treat manufactured, marketed, distributed, or sold by the defendants that they believe harmed their pet.

For inquiries about these lawsuits or if you, a family member, or friend has a dog affected by this contaminated food contact the attorneys representing the cases. The contact information for each law firm representing the cases is listed.

21 lawsuits consolidated

Many of the original class action complaints in my list of class action lawsuits have since been consolidated into a larger complaint. It is brought by 21 plaintiffs from various states whose pets were harmed after eating the treats:

Dennis Adkins and Rita DeSollar (Illinois);
Maria Higginbotham (Washington);
Mary Ellis, Jeannie Johnson, and Rebel Ely (California);
Dwayne and Kaiya Holley, Robin Pierre, and Tracey Bagatta (New York);
Deborah Cowan (Texas);
Barbara Pierpont (Pennsylvania);
Cindi Farkas (New Jersey);
Terry Safranek (Ohio);
Elizabeth Mawaka, Mary Ellen Deschamps, and Hal Scheer (Connecticut);
Jill Holbrook (Florida);
S. Raymond Parker (Tennessee);
Kristina Irving (Alabama);
Kathleen Malone (Louisiana)

The plaintiffs’ consolidated amended complaint brings a putative class action on behalf of themselves and other purchasers of chicken jerky dog treats manufactured by defendants Nestle Purina PetCare Company (“Nestle Purina”) and Waggin’ Train LLC (“Waggin’ Train”), and sold by defendants Wal-Mart Stories, Inc. (“Walmart”), Target Corporation (“Target”), Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”), BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. (“BJ’s”), Pet Supplies Plus of Connecticut XI, LLC (“Pet Supplies Plus”), CVS Caremark Corporation (“CVS”), and Walgreen Company (“Walgreens”).

The case is Adkins v. Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Case No.: 12-cv-02871, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

UPDATE: Nestle Purina PetCare Co., a unit of Nestle SA (NESN), lost a bid to dismiss a lawsuit by dog owners who alleged their pets got sick or died from eating Chinese-made Waggin’ Train chicken jerky treats. U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago today refused to toss out the case, saying the plaintiffs provided sufficient facts to make a plausible claim the treats were defective.

(NOTE: The following list is in reverse chronological order according to the date the case was filed)

HOLT v. GLOBALINX PET, LLC, et al. (Kingdom Pets)

This class action is brought by plaintiff Jennifer Holt, on behalf of all consumers who purchased certain dog treats manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold by defendants. A class action lawsuit was allowed to proceed in a Los Angeles federal court against Globalinx a California company that sells Kingdom Pets chicken jerky dog treats. The lawsuit charges that the company knew the treats were poisonous but concealed the health concerns to pet owners.

The lead counsel is Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP  is working with other counsel in this putative class action on behalf of pet owners whose dogs were sickened and/or killed due to Kingdom Pets dog treats.

For inquiries about the lawsuit contact info@kbsslaw.com or 213.596.6000.

Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP
Citigroup Center
444 South Flower Street
Thirty-Third Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tel: 213.596.6000
Fax: 213.596.6010

UPDATE: Toxic Dog Treat Claims Survive Dismissal Motion

Holt sued Globalinx and an affiliate in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, but the companies moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim…

U.S. District Judge David Carter concluded Holt had shown enough of link between the treats and Tucker’s injuries to survive the dismissal motion.

“The court disagrees that plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient evidence to show that defendants’ Kingdom Pets chicken jerky dog treats caused Tucker’s health problems,” he wrote. “In this case, it is likely that the toxicity of chicken jerky dog food would not be within the common understanding of a layperson. However, plaintiff has provided a statement from one of Tucker’s treating veterinarians which asserted that she ‘suspect[ed] that there was some toxic exposure [that caused Tucker’s illness]. A reasonable juror could find that the veterinarian’s testimony, in conjunction with the other evidence provided in the FAC [First Amended Complaint], demonstrates that defendants’ Kingdom Pets dog treats caused Tucker’s illness and death. Defendants will be afforded ample opportunity in the future to attempt to impeach the veterinarian and discredit her testimony. However, at the pleading stage, this court must take all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”

DURAN v. SERGEANT’S PET CARE PRODUCTS, INC., et al.

This is a class action brought by plaintiff Edgardo Duran, on behalf of all consumers who purchased Sergeant’s Pur Luv dog treats manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold by defendants. Sergeant’s Pur Luv dog treats can leave indigestible “rock-hard chunks” inside a dog, injuring or killing it, a class action claims in Federal Court.

The complaint was filed in February 2013 claiming the treats can cause serious injury, illness, and even death in dogs. Specifically, certain parts of the treat tend not to dissolve or otherwise break down after dogs ingest them, but instead persist as rock-hard chunks which can cause bowel obstructions and other serious injuries. According to Duran: “The centers do not dissolve in their stomach, and if they do not vomit them back up, they get constipated and cannot excrete, which leaves them in tremendous pain”.

Case No. 1:2013cv00762 U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill., filed January 30, 2013. The lead counsel is Joseph Spirut.

For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Spirut, PC
17 North State Street
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL  60602
Phone: 312-236-0000
Fax: 312-948-9212
Website: www.spirut.com

GANDARA v. NESTLE PURINA PETCARE COMPANY, et al.

This is a consumer class action brought by Rosalinda Gandara of San Diego, California. The plaintiff argues that the United States Federal Drug Administration (“FDA”) investigated reports of dogs suffering from maladies after consuming Chicken Jerky Treats and found the products contained residue from antibiotics that Plaintiff believes cannot be sold without a prescription from a veterinarian. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that some of these antibiotics are “not approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in food animals. According to Plaintiff, she “suffered injury in fact by losing money as the result of her purchase of  Waggin’ Train® brand Chicken Jerky Products, which she would have not purchased had she known that they contained illegal antibiotics.”

For inquiries about the lawsuit, Case No. 13-cv-487-L(WMC) (3:2013cv00487), contact:

Hogan Lovells US LLP
3 Embarcadero Center
Suite 1500
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415 374 2300
Fax: 415 374 2499
Website: www.hoganlovells.com

UPDATE: The case was transferred to Illinois see: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/casdce/3:2013cv00487/408208/18/0.pdf?1370425122 for further information.

ADKINS v. NESTLE PURINA PETCARE COMPANY, et al.

This is a class action brought by plaintiff Dennis Adkins, on behalf of all consumers who purchased certain dog treats manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold by defendants. Chicago-area dog owner Dennis Adkins filed a federal class action lawsuit against Nestlé Purina Petcare, Waggin’ Train, Wal-Mart, and other unnamed entities involved in the manufacture, sale, distribution and marketing of the dog treats. The Adkins lawsuit also expanded the list of defendants to include Target and Costco.

On a personal note, I was flattered that council decided to use an article I wrote on Poisoned Pets in their complaint.

The case is Adkins v. Nestle Purina Petcare Co., Case No. 1:2-cv-02871, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Filed: 04/18/12

The lead counsel is Daniel A. Edelman at Edelman, Combs, Latturner, & Goodwin, LLC. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Edelman, Combs, Latturner, & Goodwin, LLC
120 S. LaSalle Street
Suite 1800
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone: 312-739-4200
Fax: (312) 419-0379
Daniel Edelman: Contact
Website: http://www.edcombs.com

UPDATE: Adkins v. Nestle has been consolidated with 20 other complaints (see above).

Nestle Purina PetCare Co., a unit of Nestle SA (NESN), lost a bid to dismiss a lawsuit by dog owners who alleged their pets got sick or died from eating Chinese-made Waggin’ Train chicken jerky treats. U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago today refused to toss out the case, saying the plaintiffs provided sufficient facts to make a plausible claim the treats were defective.

MAWAKA v. NESTLE PURINA PETCARE COMPANY, et al.

Bruce Newman has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Elizabeth Mawaka of Hartford, Connecticut against Nestle Purina, Waggin’ Train, LLC, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Sam’s Club Inc. following the death of Ms. Mawaka’s two boston terriers after they ingested chicken jerky treats.

The lead counsel for Case No.: 3:2012cv00880 is Bruce Newman. For inquiries about this lawsuit or if you, a family member, or friend has a dog affected by this contaminated food contact:

Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP
2252 Main Street
Glastonbury, CT 06033
Phone: 860-266-4278
Toll free: 877-783-5367
Fax: 860-652-4382

UPDATE: Mawaka v. Nestle has been consolidated with the Adkins v. Nestle case (see above).

RUFF v. DEL MONTE CORPORATION, et al.

Maxine Ruff, of North Carolina, filed, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, a federal class actions against Del Monte Corporation and Milo’s Kitchen on October 10, 2012 after her dog became sick and died from eating chicken jerky treats. Ruff seeks to represent those who bought the treats for their own or personal, household, or family use, rather than for resale or distribution, as well as two proposed sub-classes.

Maxine Ruff is represented by Jamie E. Weiss in Case No.: 3:12-cv-05251 SC. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Complex Litigation Group LLC
513 Central Avenue
Suite 300
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Toll Free: 866-779-9610
Phone: 847-433-4500
Fax: 847-433-2500
Email: jamie@complexlitgroup.com

UPDATE : A federal judge agreed to let one court handle several new class actions concerning dogs poisoned by Chinese chicken jerky treats sold by Del Monte subsidiary Milo’s Kitchen. Maxine Ruff, of North Carolina, and Mary Emily Funke, of California (below), had each filed separate federal class actions against Del Monte and Milo’s Kitchen in October 2012 after their dogs became sick and died from eating chicken jerky treats. Last week U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White agreed to transfer the Ruff and Funke cases to Pittsburgh where Mazur’s is pending (see below).

FUNKE v. DEL MONTE CORPORATION, et al.

Mary Emily Funke, of California, filed a federal class actions against Del Monte and Milo’s Kitchen in October 2012 after her dog(s) became sick and died from eating chicken jerky treats. The complaint accused Del Monte and Milo’s of misrepresenting the treats as wholesome and nutritious when they knew that the products were actually contaminated. Funke seeks to represent those who bought the treats from 2007 to the present, as well as four sub-classes.

Case No.: 3:2012cv5323, Filed: October 16, 2012 (Docket Number: 3:12-cv-05323-MEJ)

The lead counsel is Robert Vincent Prongay Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP
1925 Century Park East
Suite 2100
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 201-9150
Toll-free: (888) 773-9224
Fax: (310) 201-9160
E-mail: info@glancylaw.com

UPDATE: A federal judge agreed to let one court handle several new class actions concerning dogs poisoned by Chinese chicken jerky treats sold by Del Monte subsidiary Milo’s Kitchen. Maxine Ruff, of North Carolina (see above), and Mary Emily Funke, of California, had each filed separate federal class actions against Del Monte and Milo’s Kitchen in October 2012 after their dogs became sick and died from eating chicken jerky treats. Last week U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White agreed to transfer the Ruff and Funke cases to Pittsburgh where Mazur’s is pending (see below).

 MAZUR v. DEL MONTE CORPORATION, et al.

The first federal class action lawsuit to be filed over Milo’s Kitchen dog treats was initiated by Pennsylvania resident Liza Mazur against food giant Del Monte and it’s subsidiary Milo’s Kitchen for the chicken jerky dog treats.

Mazur is seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages for a proposed class of all persons in the U.S. (except Louisiana and Puerto Rico) who purchased any dog treat product containing chicken jerky manufactured or sold by Del Monte or Milo’s Kitchen and containing chicken imported from China, within the past four years. She is alleging common law fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence, product liability, unfair trade, breach of warranty, failure to warn and defective manufacture or design.

The case is Lisa Mazur v. Milo’s Kitchen, LLC; Del Monte Corp., et al., Case No. 12-cv-01011, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

Lisa Mazur is represented by Catherine Ann Ceko and Thomas Everett Soule of Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin LLC and Clayton S. Morrow of Morrow & Cross. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Morrow & Cross
Phone: 412 281 1250
Fax: 412 209 0658
Clayton S. Morrow
E-Mail: cmorrow@allconsumerlaw.com

Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin LLC
Phone: 312 739 4200
Fax: 1 312 419 0379
Catherine Anne Ceko
E-Mail: cceko@edcombs.com
Thomas Everett Soule
E-mail: tsoule@edcombs.com

UPDATE: A consolidation of four separate class action complaints involving Mazur, Funke, Langone and Ruff have been combined and will now be referred to as “Milo’s Dog Treats Consolidated Cases, Civil Action No. 12-1011” (Case 2:12-cv-01011-CB-MPK).  

LANGONE v. DEL MONTE CORPORATION, et al.

This is at least the second class action lawsuit to be filed over Milo’s Kitchen dog treats, …This is at least the second in the latest Milo’s Kitchen class action lawsuit filed by New York resident Christopher Langone.

The case is Christopher Langone v. Del Monte Corporation, et al., Case No. 12-cv-4671, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco.

The lead counsel is Clayton S. Morrow with Morrow & Artim. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

MORROW & ARTIM, PC
304 Ross Street
7th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 209-0656
www.pacreditcardlaw.com
clay@PaCreditCardLaw.com

UPDATE: November 4, 2013

It appears if Langone’s case has been consolidated with the Adkins v. Nestle Purina case (see above).

MATIN  v. NESTLE PURINA PETCARE COMPANY, et al.

Another pet parent filed a class action lawsuit against Milo’s Kitchen and Del Monte in Los Angeles, because her dog came “close to death” from kidney failure because of the deadly jerky treats. Faris Matin filed a complaint against Waggin Train LLC, Petsmart, Inc. and Nestle Purina Petcare Company on December 20, 2012.

Matin v. Nestle Purina PetCare Company, et al., Case No. 12-cv-6465-THE (N.D. Cal.) (3:2012cv06465)

The lead counsel is Samuel H. Rudman of Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd LLC. For inquiries about the lawsuit contact:

Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd LLC
655 West Broadway
Suite 1900
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 231-1058 or (800) 449-4900
Fax: (619) 231-7423
Website: http://www.rgrdlaw.com

NOTE: If you are aware of any corrections that need to be made, updates to lawsuits or omissions of any ongoing pet treat class action complaints, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will add them to the list.

Links to lawsuits

  • For information on the Adkins v. Nestle Purina whopper of a lawsuit, click here.
  • To download a copy of the Holt v. Globalinx Pet complaint, click here.
  • To download a copy of Gandara v. Nestle Purina PetCare Company complaint, click here.

Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (11) Write a comment

  1. Holt’s suit was denied certification, a US District Judge has decreed that she cannot use California consumer protection statues as a basis for a class action (nationwide) claim, because other state statutes are “materially different” than her home state’s laws. The civil action is therefore terminated. Arrgh!

    Reply

    • What a shame. But as the judge ruled: one states laws cannot be applied to other states in a claim that involves a nationwide claim. I’d like to know more details – do you have some links? Thanks Peter.

      Reply

  2. To KP, Not many lawyers work pro bono, and the alternatives for these folks is to do what? Start a petition for the “round file”? Stand in front of NestlePurina’s headquarters on a hunger strike? To me, the bad press that these crooks will attain will far outweigh any monetary gain.

    Try to find something that is not from China; it is hard work. Maybe if you live in the artic, eat whale blubber and make your household items out of whale blubber, you will be “China Free”.
    Like meat?
    From the USDA website: Country of Origin labeling is not required [for example]: “teriyaki flavored pork loin, breaded chicken tenders, or fish sticks.
    Processed food products (such as hot dogs) do not require country of origin labeling.”
    This is “Any item that has undergone processing resulting in a change of character (for example, cooking, curing, smoking, restructuring) or has been combined with another food component.”

    Like Fish? Fish are shipped to China for processing with a secret ingredient added, but it will not say that on the label.

    Take vitamins or pharmaceuticals? = made in China

    Cars, tires, tea kettles, surge protectors, spatulas…etc., etc., etc.

    However, if you are diligent, you may find some items that are not made in China.

    Reply

    • GOOD ANSWER!

      I remember hearing about this TV episode where the producers of the show removed everything from a typical American home (using an actual family to illustrate the point) that was made in China…

      Result?

      A house, garage, backyard and driveway nearly devoid of any former household goods – including the car, right down to the lawn ornaments.

      They said they would literally have to dismantle the entire home, walls, flooring, lighting fixtures – you name it – including the front and back yard (Chinese made sprinkler system!) to completely eradicate the home from everything Made in China.

      So…good luck folks.

      Removing China from your life is a bitch.

      Reply

  3. Honestly, the only ones who will profit from this are the attorneys. Anyone who has a pet that has been harmed won’t see anything from this. The only way to stop this is to quit buying junk from China and other questionable sources. Our insatiable addiction to cheap foreign goods is coming back to haunt us and it is OUR FAULT.

    Reply

    • I agree to an extent, but so many people keep asking me how to join one that I had to help.

      It is not an economic gain they are after (in fact, I know of no one who expects one), but what many of them just want is an opportunity for pay back: To drag their asses through court.

      Let’s face it, had the manufacturers just pulled the crap off the market like 6 or 7 years ago people wouldn’t have to resort to these kinds of measures, however unlikely they are to succeed.

      I think it’s pretty harsh to put the blame on “them”, by that, I hope you don’t mean the victims in this tragedy.

      Allot of those treats were not inexpensive – they used clever marketing to disguise the country of origin, made them seem like good ol’ American made wholesome, all natural treats.

      Ultimately, consumers have no way of knowing for certain the country of origin of many goods. For instance, processed meats (chicken jerky, for example!) do not require country of origin labeling.

      I am sure that every single one of those people would never have intentionally purchased some cheap piece of shit from China knowing it might kill their beloved pet.

      As for me, my heart breaks for them and I think that whatever they can do to try to punish those lousy manufacturers/importers of crap from China – is a good thing. They need to do it. What other alternative is there?

      And trust me, these poor folks will never, ever knowingly buy another thing from China. But sadly, this lesson was learned in the most unimaginable, difficult and tragic way – by the loss of their pet. It is a lesson they won’t soon forget and through their tragedy and advocacy work they are making a difference by educating other pet parents to learn from their experience.

      And hopefully others will learn of the multitude of class action lawsuits listed on Poisoned Pets – and take heed.

      Reply

      • I lost my Frasier on June 17, 2013 to this and found out in September that his drs are confident these treats are to blame. I would NEVER have given him ANYTHING that I thought would harm him. These companies spend millions advertising how great these treats are, how nutrious they are, we ASSUME they are made in the USA (because these companies are here) only to find out they have outsourced to China, and we are losing our “family” members as they make billions and billions. Until you have SEEN how quickly they get sick and the suffering they’re going through, one can’t even imagine the pain endured. Would anyone CHOOSE to do this to a family member? I think not… I’ve sent all documentation (Picture of Frasier at the hospital; text messages to and from his doctor; vets medical tests/results; hospital tests/results) to the FDA and have advised them I still have an unopened bag, and have yet to be contacted.

        How could they have known about these problems since 2007 and other than one posting, never notified vets and or the public?

        Who knows how many deaths they have caused over the years?

        And these companies have continued to make billions?

        Reply

        • Laura, I will take care of this. Sometimes they get busy and don’t get back to everyone as promptly as they should.

          I have been told by FDA to report any such delays and it will be taken care of one way or another.

          You just have to e-mail me privately, at molliemorrissette@poisonedpets.com, and tell me your full name, the name of the person with whom you spoke to (if any), and which dept you contacted (state or federal) and when you made the complaint.

          I will get this sorted for you – not to worry. The FDA has recently been inundated with reports of more sick dogs when the news update on the CJT was release on the FDA’s website (1500 new AERs at last count)!

          Reply

    • Yes, it is true that “it is our fault.” However, an issue that remains is that in many instances, the consumer simply cannot purchase goods that aren’t made in China, or manufactured with ingredients sourced from China. Many pet food manufacturers falsely claim that their products are “human grade” and are made from US-sourced ingredients, when we know that supply chains move components through China and other dubious origins. And virtually all vitamin supplements originate from China, regardless of the brand or how much the consumer pays for so-called “premium” pet foods.

      This will change only when consumers demand it to be changed. Consumers need to walk into stores and ask, “where are the US-sourced products?” and then retailers will seek them from suppliers, as an economic issue.

      The problem is that across many product categories there simply is no choice for consumers, and so no mechanism to apply immediate pressure. Such is the situation with pet foods. The market is improving for “grain free” or “premium” brands, but we still cannot get away from China sourcing. Many premium brands are also made outside of the US entirely: the consumer doesn’t realize that “manufactured for” can mean “made in”, and “Made in Thailand” is pretty tiny on the can.

      If I call (premium manufacturer) and tell them I will stop buying (“premium”) brand until they source vitamins from non-China sources, they will tell me there IS no other source… or worse, will tell me a story crammed with mis-information or untruths. Pet food reps that consumers communicate with are notoriously under or mis-educated. Sensing the profit, US agribusiness is moving into the market of pet foods as means to dispose of their waste…. but even premium products won’t translate into non-China sourced foods for consumers to choose from.

      I am not displeased with legal actions because these consumers have been aggrieved, and at this stage, it keeps the issue alive.

      Reply

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