TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Proposed Tainted Pet Food Settlement

About a year ago, the largest pet-food recall in history was prompted by the illness and death of thousands of cats and dogs.   The illness was traced to tainted wheat gluten in the pet food.   The Philadelphia Inquirer now reports that a proposed $32 million settlement has been reached in the tainted-pet food cases.   The settlement would "resolve more than 100 lawsuits filed last year by anguished pet owners in the United States and Canada against companies that made or distributed the poisonous food."

Pet owners could receive $900 for "reasonable economic damages submitted without documentation." The document filed last night said such damages could include travel expenses, property damage (to carpets, for example), lost wages, "or any other expense related to the pet's illness or death."

One lawyer in the case said the undocumented expenses also were meant to help compensate people for their emotional distress without referring to them in those explicit terms.  "They're not called emotional damages," said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Getting the defendants to agree to give more than just compensatory damages, which was essential to us, was not an easy thing."

U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman has scheduled a hearing on the settlement for this Friday May 30th.


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