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Class action lawyers pounce after Hill's Pet announces dog food recall

By Charmaine Little | Feb 25, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – Class action lawsuits are rolling in against a major pet nutrition food producer after it recalled canned dog food products because of potentially elevated amounts of vitamin D.

For instance, John Navarrete sued Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. on Feb. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the San Francisco/Oak Division. The defendant is also facing six other lawsuits filed in courts in the wake of the recall.

The seven cases were filed in Florida, Rhode Island, New York and California between Feb. 11 and Feb. 20, with some of the most well-known plaintiffs firms getting involved.

Navarrete’s lawsuit came after Hill’s recalled a number of its dog food products in January because of its "excessive amount" of vitamin D, the suit states. The suit states dogs that eat too much vitamin D can suffer detrimental health issues from vomiting and dehydration to weight loss and death.

The recall for the products came on Jan. 31, just months after Navarrete purchased products from PetSmart in Concord, California, on Oct. 1, 2018, for his German Shepherd. The plaintiff alleges he fed his dog the food through January, when the animal started experiencing health setbacks like vomiting and lethargy. He alleges he incurred veterinary bills for the dog's care.

Some of the recalled food includes Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d MultiCare Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew; Hill's Prescription Diet Low Fat Canine Rice, Vegetable & Chicken Stew; and Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Barley Entrée.

According to a Food and Drug Administration announcement of the recall issued Jan. 31, an investigation by Hill's determined the elevated levels of the vitamin were caused by a supplier error.

Navarrete noted in the suit that Hill’s marketed the now-recalled products as extremely healthy and nutritious for canines.

“Defendant also touts on its website that it is ‘the global leader in nutritional health care for companion animals, allowing us to provide the right formulas for precisely balanced nutrition that meets the wellness and therapeutic needs of pets worldwide,” according to the lawsuit.

There is also a proposed subclass for what the plaintiff described as “Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the Consumer Legal Remedies,” for those who bought the recalled products for household and family reasons.

Hill’s is alleged to have presented goods to have positive characteristics and uses that they do not have.

Navarette is represented by Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe of San Francisco.

Other lawyers with lawsuits against Hill's are: Joseph Tusa of New York; the Levin Papantonio firm of Florida; Marlin and Saltzman of California; Motley Rice's Rhode Island office; and Wexler Wallace in Chicago.

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