Bumble Bee, Walmart seafood products class action lawsuit overview:
- WHO: Marissa Sanchez has filed a class action lawsuit against Walmart Inc., while Abdallah Nasser, John Bohen and Sanchez have filed a separate class action lawsuit against Bumble Bee Foods LLC.
- Why: Walmart and Bumble Bee Foods are separately accused of falsely advertising that their seafood products with blue stamp certification from the Marine Stewardship Council are sustainably sourced.
- Where: The class action lawsuits were independently filed in the federal courts of Illinois and California.
Walmart and Bumble Bee Foods falsely advertise that seafood products they produce and sell are sustainably sourced, according to a pair of new class action lawsuits filed separately against the companies.
Plaintiff Marissa Sanchez alleges that Walmart “charges a premium” for its frozen Great Value and Sam’s Choice seafood products because of the promise that the products are “certified sustainable seafood.”
Sanchez argues that Walmart’s sustainability claims are supported by a “prominent certification” in the form of a blue stamp from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which is not actually valid proof of sustainable fishing practices.
“As Walmart knew or should have known, MSC is awarding this certification to those who use industrial fishing methods that damage both marine life and ocean habitats with destructive fishing practices,” the Walmart class action states.
Sanchez claims the MSC will also allow a company to gain certification by getting paid membership, which she says creates “a potential conflict of interest.”
“Despite MSC certification, Walmart sources its products using fishing practices that indiscriminately harm ocean ecosystems,” the Walmart class action states.
Sanchez wants to represent a nationwide class, an Illinois class, and a multi-state consumer fraud class of individuals who have purchased Walmart seafood products and advertised as being sustainably sourced.
Bumble Bee ‘turns a blind eye’ to unsustainable fishing practices, says class action
Sanchez, along with Abdallah Nasser and John Bohen, filed a separate class action lawsuit against Bumble Bee alleging that the company falsely advertised that certain of its seafood products were sustainably sourced.
The plaintiffs allege that Bumble Bee uses a blue stamp certification from the MSC that “defrauds and misleads reasonable consumers into believing its products come from sustainable fishing practices.”
Despite the MSC certification, the plaintiffs allege that Bumble Bee “turns a blind eye” to “unsustainable fishing practices” that they say are used to source blue stamp seafood products.
“Despite MSC certification, Bumble Bee sources its products using fishing practices that indiscriminately harm ocean ecosystems,” the Bumble Bee class action states.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide class, a California class, an Illinois class and a Virginia class of consumers who have purchased Bumble Bee seafood products that have an MSC blue stamp certification.
Both the Bumble Bee and Walmart class action lawsuits call for declaratory and injunctive relief, along with an award of monetary, triple, statutory and punitive damages for all class members.
In October, a class action lawsuit accusing major tuna producers of collaborating to fix prices in the tuna industry was curtailed by a California federal judge, who ruled on a number of claims either was not applicable or failed under state law.
Have you purchased a Walmart or Bumble Bee seafood product with an MSC Blue Stamp certification? Let us know in the comments.
The plaintiffs are collectively represented by Pearson Warshaw LLP, Kresch Legal Services PR PLLC and Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman LLP.
The Bumble Bee and Walmart seafood products class action lawsuits Are Sanchez, et al. v Walmart Inc.Case No. 1:23-cv-01297, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Nasser, et al. v Bumble Bee Foods LLCCase No. 2:23-cv-01558, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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