Hoang Tran Oct. 15, 2015, 2:21pm


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Several California residents are suing the makers of a popular cat food brand over allegations of slave labor.

Melanie Barber, Robert and Esther Malone, and R. Grace Rodriguez, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit on Aug. 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division against Nestle USA Inc. and Nestle Purina Petcare Co., citing violations of the California consumer protection laws.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants, in conjunction with overseas partner Thai Union Frozen Products, utilize seafood caught in the tropic waters between Indonesia and Thailand for their pet foods, including well-known cat food Fancy Feast.

The plaintiffs argue that Thai Union, in order to reduce costs and raise profits, traffic men and boys from Burma and Cambodia and forces them to work on fishing boats, hence the allegations of forced labor.

The plaintiffs allege that Nestle is well aware of this modern form of slavery, yet has not disclosed it to the public nor has it done anything to stop those unlawful practices, therefore violating consumer laws and misleading customers.

The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury and is suing for restitution, enjoin the defendants from practicing said unlawful and unfair sale of Fancy Feast, court costs and attorney fees, and any other rewards as deemed proper by court. They are represented by attorneys Elaine T. Byszewski and Christopher R. Pitoun and the law offices of Hagen, Berman, Sobol, Shapiro LLP in Pasadena, Calif. and Seattle.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division case number 8:15-cv-01364-CJC-AGR

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