The Litigation Counsellor®

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On November 16, 2020, Eastern District of New York Judge Eric R. Komitee granted preliminary approval for a $1.3 million proposed settlement that ended claims between pet supply store Petco and a class of former employees.

Whirlpool Faces Class Claims Over Defective KitchenAid Refrigerators

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On November 13, 2020, major home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation (“Whirlpool”) was served with class claims in federal court in the Southern District of California alleging that the company manufactured and distributed defective refrigerator-freezers.

Costco Faces Class Claims Over Mislabeled Dog Food

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On November 3, 2020, class claims were filed against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) and dog food maker Diamond Pet Foods Inc. (“Diamond”) in federal court in the Western District of Washington. The suit alleges that Diamond’s brand—Kirkland Nature Domain—mislabeled its Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs and Chicken and Pea Formula for Puppies (together, “Kirkland Products”), thereby misleading consumers as to the true nature of the ingredients of the products.

Frito-Lay Faces Class Claims Over Baked Lays Chips

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On October 19, 2020, class claims were filed against Frito-Lay Inc. in federal court in the Southern District of California by a class of consumers who allege that the defendant chip company knowingly misrepresented the true ingredients in its Baked Lays Cheddar & Sour Cream flavor chips (“the mislabeled chips”).

The Practice of Law After COVID-19, Volume 6

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

What’s Important to Know About Virtual Trials

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the legal community has been forced to adapt and adjust to a new way of practicing law. Attorneys have incorporated technology into the daily minutiae of their practices, given that in-person events have largely shifted to a virtual format in most jurisdictions. While you may have already taken part in telephone court hearings or zoom depositions, you probably have not yet experienced a virtual trial.

LAX Airport Restaurant Employees File Class Claims for Withheld Wages

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On October 15, 2020, airport food supplier, Host International Inc., was served with proposed class claims in California Superior Court in the County of Los Angeles. A group of former Host International employees allege that the company failed to pay past wages and accrued vacation time owed to the former employees, despite being aware of the dire economic circumstances many of them faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown.

Class Claims Over Misleading Ingredients Filed Against Haagen-Dazs

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On October 13, 2020, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York against famed ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs, alleging that the front label on the brand’s Coffee Almond Crunch ice cream bars misled consumers as to the true ingredients of the product.

Instacart Facing Class Claims Over FMLA Violations

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On October 1, 2020, class claims were filed against grocery delivery company, Instacart in federal court in the District of Georgia alleging that Instacart’s policies violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

In the complaint, named plaintiff Nieves Lopez describes how she was hired by Instacart in February 2019 as a salaried employee in a managerial position. In April 2020, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression. She subsequently requested and was granted intermittent FMLA leave through June 1, 2020. The complaint further explains that plaintiff believed that, based on Instacart’s representations, that she would be able to use her paid time off (“PTO”) in connection with her extended FMLA leave.

On September 24, 2020, class claims were filed against popular food delivery service, DoorDash Inc., by a Missouri restaurant in federal court in the Northern District of California. The suit claims that the defendant engaged in a pattern of behavior that deceptively directed customers away from restaurants with whom DoorDash does not have a relationship.

LA County Indoor Malls File Class Claims Over Store Closures

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On September 28, 2020, class claims were filed in federal court in the Central District of California by a group of Los Angeles County indoor mall stores against Los Angeles County, along with the LA County Department of Public Health and other County officials. The suit alleges that the defendants’ choice to refuse to allow indoor mall stores to reopen for in-person shopping on the basis of protecting public health, has no public health justification.

The Practice of Law After COVID-19, Volume 5

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Procedural Check-In on COVID-Related Litigations

As COVID-19 developed into a global crisis, many legal experts have speculated as to which lawsuits were likely to rise to the forefront. Seven months into the pandemic, here is a snapshot of the procedural status of some of the resulting litigations:

Class Certification Granted in Suit Against Green Mountain Coffee

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On September 21, 2020, class certification was granted in federal court in the Northern District of California to a class of consumers who allege that popular Keurig single-serve coffee pod brand, Green Mountain Inc., intentionally misled consumers regarding the recyclability of its product.

Protein Bar Labeling Suit Survives Motion to Dismiss

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On September 10, 2020, Southern California federal court Judge M. James Lorenz declined a motion to dismiss putative class claims against One Brands, alleging that the defendant, a subsidiary of Hershey Co., intentionally misled consumers as to the true ingredients in its popular protein bars.

Suit Filed Against Environmental Company Over Sewage-Filled Flood

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On September 8, 2020, a Vermont restaurant filed suit in Massachusetts federal court against Wind River Environmental, after the company flooded the unnamed restaurant with countless gallons of human feces, urine and sewage.