BREAKING FREE, LLC, & CONNIE BUTTRAM, Plaintiffs, v. JCG FOODS OF ALABAMA, LLC, KOCH MEAT CO., INC., & KOCH FOODS, INC., Defendants., No. 4:18-CV-01659-ACA, 2019 WL 1513978 (N.D. Ala. Apr. 8, 2019)
Plaintiff Connie Buttram owns Plaintiff Breaking Free, LLC (“Breaking Free”). Plaintiffs are contract poultry growers for Defendants JCG Foods of Alabama, LLC (“JCG”), Koch Meat Co., Inc., and Koch Foods, Inc. (collectively “Koch”). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants prevented them from growing chickens in a fair and profitable manner. Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, asserting federal claims against Defendants for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (“PSA”) and the Agricultural Fair Practices Act (“AFPA”). Plaintiffs also assert claims under Alabama state law for fraud, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent, willful, and reckless misrepresentation.
This case is before the court on Defendants’ motions to dismiss. Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiffs’ PSA claim and their state law claims for fraud, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent, willful, and reckless misrepresentation. Defendants also ask the court to dismiss Plaintiffs’ request for consequential and punitive damages.
The court grants in part and denies in part the motions to dismiss.
Burnette Foods, Inc. v. United States Dep’t of Agric., No. 18-1541, 2019 WL 1510814 (6th Cir. Apr. 8, 2019)
This action revolves around the makeup of the Cherry Industry Administrative Board. And the Board’s composition is the subject of this appeal.
Federal regulations prohibit the Board from having too many members of the same “sales constituency”—i.e., an organization that represents a group of cherry handlers or growers. At one time, eleven of the eighteen Board members were affiliated with CherrCo, Inc., an organization that markets for its members and sets minimum prices for various tart cherry products. Plaintiff, Burnette Foods, Inc., a tart cherry handler that is not a member of CherrCo, claims CherrCo is a “sales constituency,” and thus the Board’s composition violates the regulations. The Secretary of Agriculture found that CherrCo was not a “sales constituency,” but the district court disagreed. Because the Secretary had substantial evidence to support his decision and the district court misapplied the law in its review, the court reverses and remands for entry of judgment in defendants’ favor.
WINN-DIXIE STORES, INC., et al. v. EASTERN MUSHROOM MARKETING COOPERATIVE, et al. Additional Party Names: Basciani & Sons, Bella Mushroom Farms, Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, Brownstone Mushroom Farms, C&C Carriage Mushroom Co., Cardile Mushrooms, Country Fresh Mushroom Co., Creekside Mushrooms, Ltd., Forest Mushroom, Gaspari Bros., Gino Gaspari & Sons, Giorgi Mushroom Co., Giorgio Foods, J-M Farms, John Pia, Kaolin Mushroom Farms, Louis M. Marson, Jr., Michael Pia, Modern Mushroom Farms, Monterey Mushrooms, Mushroom All., Oakshire Mushroom Farm, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Robert A. Feranto, Jr., Sher-Rockee Mushroom Farm, LLC, S. Mill Mushroom Sales, To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms, No. CV 15-6480, 2019 WL 1514215 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 8, 2019)
Winn-Dixie Plaintiffs contend they paid artificially-inflated prices for Agaricus mushrooms because Defendants conspired to fix mushroom prices, control the supply of mushrooms, and acquire monopoly power in the market for mushrooms. Winn-Dixie Plaintiffs have opted-out of a class action raising similar claims (“Class Litigation”) and, in this stand-alone action, seek to recover damages from the Eastern Mushroom Marketing Cooperative (“EMMC”), its members, certain entities alleged to be related to certain EMMC members, the EMMC’s president, and one of its officers.
For the reasons discussed above, Defendants’ motions to dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part. Winn-Dixie Plaintiffs’ claims under Section 2 of the Sherman Act will be dismissed as to all Defendants except the EMMC. They may proceed against Defendants who have been properly served on the remaining claims. However, Winn-Dixie Plaintiffs’ claims against Cardile Brothers Mushroom Packaging, Inc., Harvest Fresh Farms, Inc., LRP-M Mushrooms, LLC, LRP Mushrooms Inc., Masha & Toto, Inc. t/a M&T Mushroom, United Mushroom Farms Cooperative, and W&P Mushrooms, Inc. will be dismissed without prejudice for lack of service.
SHAVONDA HAWKINS, Plaintiff, v. THE KROGER COMPANY, Defendant., No. 15CV2320 JM(BLM), 2019 WL 1506845 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 4, 2019)
All of Plaintiff’s claims relate to Kroger’s sale of Kroger Bread Crumbs (“KBCs”) that allegedly contain partially hydrogenated oil (“PHO”). Plaintiff alleges that the KBCs contain dangerous levels of trans fat and that there is no safe level of artificial trans fat. The nutrition label contains the statement “0g Trans Fat.” On the front of the packaging, the statement “0g Trans Fat” is prominently repeated. In broad brush, Plaintiff alleges a mislabeling claim and an injury or use claim. Plaintiff generally alleges that Kroger misleadingly and unlawfully advertises KBCs as containing “0g Trans Fat” on the front of the package when, in fact, the product contains more that 0g but less than 0.5g Trans Fat. Under the second theory, Plaintiff alleges that there is no safe level of PHO. Plaintiff alleges that the consumption of PHOs causes adverse effects to the cardiovascular system, is linked to multiple forms of cancer, causes Type-2 diabetes, contributes to mental decline, and death. Motion to Dismiss was denied.