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Firms face class action suit over tainted pet food
Class Action News | 2007/04/25 15:59
A Boston law firm filed a class action lawsuit against Menu Foods Holdings Inc., Iams Co., Nutro Products Inc., and other firms for supplying contaminated pet food that spawned an outbreak of pet illnesses and deaths. The lawsuit alleges some deaths could have been avoided had the companies alerted consumers sooner. Wayne, Richard & Hurwitz LLP filed its suit in US District Court in Massachusetts on behalf of two women whose cats suffered renal or kidney failure after eating the contaminated food. The food contained wheat gluten with melamine, an industrial chemical not approved for use in pet food.

Microsoft to pay up to $180 million to settle Iowa suit
Class Action News | 2007/04/18 20:19

Microsoft Corp. agreed Wednesday to pay Iowans up to $180 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company had a monopoly that cost the state's citizens millions of dollars extra for software products.

The $179.95 million settlement means individuals in Iowa who bought certain Microsoft products separately or preinstalled on computers between May 18, 1994, and June 30, 2006, will be eligible for cash. Government agencies and companies with multiple copies purchased between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2006, can seek vouchers that will enable them to buy computer equipment and software. The amount that can be claimed will depend on which product and how many copies were purchased.

For each copy of Microsoft Windows or MS-DOS, customers can claim $16. Microsoft Excel is worth $25 a copy and Microsoft Office, $29 a copy.

For Word, Works and Home Essential software, consumers can claim $10 a copy, according to the agreement.

No proof of purchase will be required for online claims of up to $100 or for mail claims of up to $200. Claimants will be required to sign a legal document saying their claim is accurate. Lying can bring a charge of perjury.

Notification will be sent to the estimated 1 million class members on April 25, the date when they can begin claiming money. The claim period ends Dec. 14.

Pet Food Recall Results in Class Action Lawsuit
Class Action News | 2007/04/15 10:45

A Reno woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the manufacturer of recalled pet food. She claimsIams brand food killed her 20-year-old cat, "Patches."

Marion Streczyn seeks unspecified damages from Ontario, Canada-based Menu Foods in the suit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Reno. A Menu Foods spokesman says the company has no comment.

The company, which makes "cuts and gravy style" dog and cat food sold under nearly 100 store labels and major brands, recalled 60 million containers in mid-March after cats fell sick and died during routine company taste tests.

The recall has since expanded to include earlier dates and other brands, and at least six pet food companies have recalled products made with imported Chinese wheat gluten tainted with an industrial chemical.

Streczyn's attorney Brian O'Mara says the suit joins a growing number of others filed around the country against the pet food maker and is believed to be the first in Nevada.

It raises claims of negligence, product liability and breach of implied and express warranty. It further argues that the company received "unjust enrichment" by selling the tainted pet food.

Recent FDA tests found a toxic chemical in some menu products were related to at least 16 pet deaths around the country.

The O'Mara law firm is looking for pet owners affected by the dangerous pet food to join the lawsuit.

Federal Court dismisses Vioxx lawsuit against Merck
Class Action News | 2007/04/14 03:15

A New Jersey federal judge dismissed a class action brought by investors of Merck & Co. Thursday, ruling that the suit was filed after the statute of limitations had run. The investors had said that Merck had deliberately concealed information from them about the safety record of its arthritis drug Vioxx. US District Court Judge Stanley Chester determined that the clock on the two-year statute of limitations started to run in September 2001 with the release of a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, coupled with subsequent attention from financial analysts and members of the press. The first fraud complaint against the company was filed in November of 2003. Since the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, it may not be filed again.

Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in September 2004 after a study showed that it could double the risk of heart attack or stroke if taken for more than 18 months. The price of Merck stock jumped by almost 10% following news of the class action dismissal.

Law firm to start $25m class action against AWB
Class Action News | 2007/04/13 20:45

A number of disgruntled current and former shareholders of AWB Ltd are suing the wheat exporter for $25 million over its role in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman said today that it would begin a shareholder class action against AWB in the Federal Court.

AWB said the proposed class action was "ill-conceived".

"If the proceedings are issued, they will be vigorously defended," AWB said.

The managing principal of the Maurice Blackburn Cashman's NSW branch, Ben Slade, said the firm was acting for an unspecified number of institutional and retail investors in AWB who were claiming they lost money because AWB failed to inform the stock market of its activities in Iraq.

"We've been instructed by a number of victims of AWB's wrongful conduct seeking compensation for the losses that they've suffered as a result of that wrongful conduct," Mr Slade said.

Mr Slade said it was alleged AWB had failed to continuously disclose to the marketplace material facts that could reasonably be expected to affect the company's share price.

He said it was claimed that AWB should have revealed it was involved in taking steps that caused Australia to be in breach of United Nations sanctions under the oil-for-food program and by one means or another was getting money from a UN account to make payments to Iraq in breach of the program.

"That is a material fact that the sharemarket should have been told, and had they been told the share price of AWB shares would have been lower than it was," Mr Slade said.

"There are certain groups that wouldn't have bought any AWB shares at all, and there are others who would have bought at a materially lower price."

Mr Slade said the claimants estimated direct losses at about $25 million and there was also the possibility of claims for opportunity loss.

Australia's single desk wheat exports system is set for overhaul after AWB was found to have paid $290 million in kickbacks to Iraq between 1999 and 2003 under the UN's corruption-ridden oil-for-food program.

The Cole inquiry into AWB's kickbacks, which reported in November 2006, recommended 11 former executives face further investigation for possible breaches of criminal and corporations law.

Pet Food Recall Prompts Lawsuit
Class Action News | 2007/04/10 16:10

Several pet owners have filed a product liability lawsuit against a pet food manufacturer following a nationwide recall of tainted pet food. Lauri Osborne, of Plymouth, Connecticut, and others, filed a federal class action lawsuit against Menu Foods, the manufacturer of the Iams® canned food that allegedly caused fatal kidney failure in one of her cats and left two others seriously ill.

On March 16, Menu Foods issued a nationwide recall of 60 million containers of wet pet food products after receiving reports of animals suffering from kidney failure throughout the United States and Canada

Samples analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration uncovered traces of melamine – a chemical used in making plastics, laminates, and fertilizer.

Menu Foods has established hotlines that pet owners can call to receive updated information on the recall. According to their own hotline, Menu foods also delayed announcement of the recall until it could be confirmed that their product was responsible for the slew of animal deaths.

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