Parmesan Suit Against Albertsons Dismissed
A federal district court judge in Illinois has dismissed all claims against Albertsons in multidistrict litigation alleging that food companies used labels describing cheese products as “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” despite containing more than the federally allowed 2 percent cellulose as filler, according to published reports. Meanwhile, Supervalu won the dismissal of many, but not all, claims in the lawsuit, which originally began in 2016.
Illinois and Alabama express-warranty claims, Illinois implied-warranty claims and Illinois unjust-enrichment claims against Supervalu were dismissed, but unjust-enrichment claims in Alabama were allowed to proceed. The dismissed state-law claims require the plaintiffs to show that they relied on misrepresentations to make their purchases, while other state consumer protection claims that don’t have the same reliance requirement were allowed to proceed.
U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman also denied the plaintiffs’ bid to amend their complaints to reintroduce previously dismissed defendants Publix Super Markets and Target Corp./ICCO-Cheese Co.
The plaintiffs, described in the suit as consumers who purchased the defendants’ products at grocery stores in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and New York, earlier claimed that Kraft Heinz Co., Supervalu, ICCO, Publix, Albertsons and Target misled them by claiming to sell “100% Parmesan” cheese products. Kraft must still face unjust-enrichment claims in seven states and breach-of-warranty claims in two of them.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 well-known banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal-kit company Plated. The company is No. 3 on Progressive Grocer's 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States. Supervalu was acquired in 2018 by Providence, R.I.-based wholesale food distributor UNFI, which is No. 30 on the list.