LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - An Oakland, Calif., woman is suing large pet food manufacturers over claims they used slave labor.
Jessica Hughes, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit on Oct. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division against Big Heart Pet Brands and Meow Mix LLC over claims that they violated California Consumer Protection Laws.
Hughes alleges that the defendants utilize an overseas partner to supply their seafood for their pet food product.
This partner, Thai Union Frozen Products, is the largest seafood company operating the region and, the plaintiff alleges, uses forced labor.
Hughes alleges that deckhands working the boats operated by Thai Union are working as modern-day slaves and that the defendants are well aware of this unlawful act but do nothing to remedy such practices.
Hughes also argues that the defendants willingly omit materials that disclose its use of slave labor on it products and in its marketing, therefore deceiving consumer and consumer protection laws.
Hughes is demanding a trial by jury and is suing for restitution derived from the unfair and deceptive marketing, an injunction enjoining the defendants from continuing their unfair and deceptive marketing and sales of its Meow Mix products, attorney and court fees, and any other relief deemed proper by the court. She is represented by Elaine T. Byszewski, Christopher R. Pitoun and others in the law offices of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Pasadena, Calif. and Seattle.
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division Court case number 2:15-cv-08007-CAS-AFM