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Monday, September 16, 2019

Consumers sue Whole Foods over allegedly high levels of arsenic in Starkey Water

Federal Court

By Carrie Bradon | Sep 11, 2019


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – Consumers from California and Illinois allege Whole Foods failed to disclose that its Starkey Water contains or may contain a high level of arsenic.

David Berke, Lorenzo Colucci and Vienna Colucci, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Aug. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Whole Foods Market Inc., Whole Foods Market California Inc., Whole Foods Market Distribution Inc. and others alleging violation of the Unfair Competition Law, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiffs allege they purchased Whole Foods-brand Starkey Water due to the belief that the water was higher in purity and safety than other comparable waters. The suit states, however, that the subject water contained high levels of arsenic that was close to or in excess of federal limits.

"Tests dating back to at least 2016 and, as recently as June 2019, consistently show Starkey Water has some of the highest arsenic levels of any bottled water presently being marketed in the United States, with some bottles exceeding the maximum arsenic contamination levels allowed by federal and state law," the suit states.

They allege the defendants advertised the water in such a way as to make consumers believe that their product was superior in quality and safety. The plaintiffs allege had they known of the dangers presented by the defendants' water, they would never have purchased it. 

The plaintiffs are seeking trial by jury, restitution, attorneys' fees, costs and just relief. The plaintiffs are represented by Patricia N. Syverson and Manfred P. Muecke of Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman and Balint in San Diego; Elaine A. Ryan and Carrie A. Laliberte of Bonnet, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint PC in Phoenix; Laurence D. Paskowitz of The Paskowitz Law Firm PC in New York City; Roy L. Jacobs of Roy Jacobs & Associates in New York City; and David N. Lake of the Law Offices of David N. Lake in Encino, California.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:19-CV-07471

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