Whole Foods Market will face class-action lawsuit, says courtStaff Writer | June 2, 2017
A federal appeals court ordered Whole Foods Market to face a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing it of overcharging shoppers in New York City by overstating the weight of pre-packaged food in its supermarkets.
Food business Whole Foods agreed in December to pay $500,000
John sued one month after New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs in June 2015 said all 80 prepackaged foods it tested from Whole Foods had mislabeled weights, and 89 percent failed to meet federal labeling standards. Overcharges ranged from 80 cents for pecan panko to $14.84 for coconut shrimp.
Whole Foods agreed in December to pay $500,000 to settle with New York City, following apologies from co-chief executives, John Mackey and Walter Robb. The probe drew national headlines.
Writing for the appeals court, Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier said John may face "significant evidentiary obstacles" but had legal standing to sue, even if the Manhattan resident could not show that any of the food items he claimed to buy once or twice a month were mislabeled.
"According to the DCA's investigation, Whole Foods packages of cheese and cupcakes were systematically and routinely mislabeled and overpriced, and John regularly purchased Whole Foods packages of cheese and cupcakes throughout the relevant period," Lohier wrote.
"Taking these allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor, it is plausible that John overpaid for at least one product," the judge added.
The case was returned to U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan. He had dismissed the lawsuit in March 2016. ■