This case was last updated from PACER on 06/04/2021 at 07:06:02 (UTC).

Clarke et al v. The Kraft Heinz Company

Case Summary

On April 05, 2021, Aaron Clarke and Michelle deVera (“Plaintiffs”), on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, represented by L. Timothy Fisher of Bursor & Fisher, P.A. filed a class action lawsuit against The Kraft Heinz Company (“Kraft” or “Defendant”), seeking compensatory, statutory and punitive damages with restitution and injunctive relief for allegedly using harmful chemicals known as ortho-phthalates (“phthalates”) in their products. This case was filed in the U.S. Districts Court for the Northern District of California with Judge Laurel Beeler presiding. 

 

Class definition: “Plaintiffs seek to represent a class defined as all persons in the United States who purchased the Products (the “Class”). Excluded from the Class are persons who made such purchases for the purpose of resale. Plaintiffs also seek to represent a subclass of all Class Members who purchased the Products in California (the “California Subclass”).”

 

In its complaint, the Plaintiffs alleged that, “Defendant’s popular Macaroni & Cheese products (“the product”) contains harmful chemicals known as ortho-phthalates (“phthalates”) but has refused to take steps to remove these chemicals from the Products. Instead, Defendant has chosen to prioritize profits over the safety of the consuming public. Phthalates are synthetic chemicals used to make plastics flexible. The problem posed by phthalates is that hormones can increase the risk of some cancers, regardless of whether those hormones are natural or synthetic. Too much or too little of a hormone can be harmful. It can develop liver cancer, kidney cancer, and male reproductive organ damage. Studies also show associations between children’s exposure to phthalates and the risk of asthma, allergies and bronchial obstruction”.

 

The Plaintiffs further alleged that, “Independent testing commissioned by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging showed that, among 30 total products tested, 29 out of the 30 cheese products contained a form of phthalates— and that eight of the nine Kraft Macaroni & Cheese products tested contained phthalates. For years, Kraft has known about the presence of phthalates in its Products. Since at least 2017, consumer advocacy groups have called on Kraft to take steps to remove these chemicals from its Products, yet Kraft has steadfastly refused to do so. Instead, in 2017, Kraft responded that it does not purposely add phthalates to the Products and that any phthalates found in its Macaroni & Cheese is merely present in “trace” amounts. These comments, while inaccurately downplaying the significance of the phthalates found in the Products, demonstrate that, at minimum, Kraft has known about this issue since 2017”.



There are two claims for relief laid down by the Plaintiffs. The first claim is for alleged breach of Implied Warranty Under the Song-Beverly Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1790 et seq. and California Commercial Code § 2314 because Defendant impliedly warranted to retail buyers that the Products were merchantable in that they would: (a) pass without objection in the trade or industry under the contract description, and (b) were fit for the ordinary purposes for which the Products are used. The second claim is for alleged fraud, as the Defendant allegedly failed to disclose material facts about the Products, including but not limited to the fact that the Products contain harmful chemicals known as phthalates.

 

In their prayer for relief, the Plaintiffs have requested the court to award compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, prejudgment interest on all amounts awarded, an order of restitution and all other forms of equitable monetary relief, an order requiring Defendant to undertake a corrective advertising campaign, and injunctive relief as pleaded or as the Court may deem proper. 

 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    3:21-CV-02437

  • Filing Date:

    04/05/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Personal Property Fraud

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

Laurel Beeler

Richard Seeborg

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

Aaron Clarke

Michelle deVera

Defendant

The Kraft Heinz Company

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

L. Timothy Fisher

Attorney at Bursor & Fisher, P.A.

1990 North California Boulevard, Suite 940

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Defendant Attorneys

Kate Tainsky Spelman

Attorney at Jenner and Block LLP

633 West 5Th Street, Suite 3600

Los Angeles, CA 90071

Dean N. Panos

Attorney at Jenner and Block LLP

353 North Clark Street

Chicago, IL 60654-3456

Alexander Michael Smith

Attorney at Jenner and Block LLP

633 West 5Th Street, Suite 3600

Los Angeles, CA 90071

 

Court Documents

#1

1 #1

Civil Cover Sheet

#2

#4

#5

#6

#8

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/04/2021
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  • Docket(#14) ORDER by Judge Richard Seeborg granting #12 Motion for Pro Hac Vice as to Dean N. Panos. (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/4/2021) (Entered: 05/04/2021)

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  • 05/04/2021
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  • Docket(#13) NOTICE of Appearance by Alexander Michael Smith on behalf of The Kraft Heinz Company (Smith, Alexander) (Filed on 5/4/2021) (Entered: 05/04/2021)

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  • 05/04/2021
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  • Docket(#12) MOTION for leave to appear in Pro Hac Vice of Dean Panos ( Filing fee $ 317, receipt number 0971-15923347.) filed by The Kraft Heinz Company. (Panos, Dean) (Filed on 5/4/2021) (Entered: 05/04/2021)

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  • 05/04/2021
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  • Docket(#11) NOTICE of Appearance by Kate Tainsky Spelman (Spelman, Kate) (Filed on 5/4/2021) (Entered: 05/04/2021)

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  • 05/03/2021
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  • Docket(#10) WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed filed by Aaron Clarke, Michelle deVera. Service waived by The Kraft Heinz Company waiver sent on 5/3/2021, answer due 7/2/2021. (Fisher, L.) (Filed on 5/3/2021) (Entered: 05/03/2021)

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  • 04/13/2021
  • Docket(#9) CLERK'S NOTICE RE REASSIGNED CASE: You are notified that the Court has scheduled an Initial Case Management Conference set for 7/8/2021 before Judge Richard Seeborg upon reassignment. Case Management Statement due by 7/1/2021. All parties shall appear by videoconference using log-in instructions the Court will provide in advance. For a copy of Judge Seeborg's Standing Order and other information, please refer to the Court's website at www.cand.uscourts.gov (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2021) (Entered: 04/13/2021)

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  • 04/13/2021
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  • Docket(#8) ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned using a proportionate, random, and blind system pursuant to General Order No. 44 to Judge Richard Seeborg for all further proceedings. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler no longer assigned to case,. Signed by Judge The Clerk on 4/13/21. (haS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2021) (Entered: 04/13/2021)

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  • 04/12/2021
  • Docket(#7) CLERK'S NOTICE OF IMPENDING REASSIGNMENT TO A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Clerk of this Court will now randomly reassign this case to a District Judge because either (1) a party has not consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge, or (2) time is of the essence in deciding a pending judicial action for which the necessary consents to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction have not been secured. You will be informed by separate notice of the district judge to whom this case is reassigned. ALL HEARING DATES PRESENTLY SCHEDULED BEFORE THE CURRENT MAGISTRATE JUDGE ARE VACATED AND SHOULD BE RE-NOTICED FOR HEARING BEFORE THE JUDGE TO WHOM THIS CASE IS REASSIGNED. This is a text only docket entry; there is no document associated with this notice. (ejkS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/12/2021) (Entered: 04/12/2021)

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  • 04/12/2021
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  • Docket(#6) CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Aaron Clarke, Michelle deVera.. (Fisher, L.) (Filed on 4/12/2021) (Entered: 04/12/2021)

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  • 04/06/2021
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  • Docket(#5) Summons Issued as to The Kraft Heinz Company. (jlgS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/6/2021) (Entered: 04/06/2021)

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  • 04/06/2021
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  • Docket(#4) Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Case Management Statement due by 7/1/2021. Initial Case Management Conference set for 7/8/2021 at 11:00 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom B, 15th Floor. (jlgS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/6/2021) (Entered: 04/06/2021)

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  • 04/05/2021
  • Docket(#3) Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening.Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 4/19/2021. (mbcS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/5/2021) (Entered: 04/05/2021)

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  • 04/05/2021
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  • Docket(#2) Proposed Summons. (Fisher, L.) (Filed on 4/5/2021) (Entered: 04/05/2021)

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  • 04/05/2021
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  • Docket(#1) CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT against The Kraft Heinz Company (Filing fee $402, receipt number 0971-15795744). Filed by Aaron Clarke, Michelle deVera. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Fisher, L.) (Filed on 4/5/2021) Modified on 4/6/2021 (jlgS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 04/05/2021)

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