Legal Fallout From Pet Food Recall Heats Up
By Brandon James


When Menu Foods, Inc. decided to recall all of their manufactured “cuts and gravy” style pet foods in early March of 2007 due to a number of pet owners complaining that their pets were getting sick, the door for retribution via lawsuits was opened.

I say this with a little bit of levity, but just as famous as the Statue of Liberty is to this fair country, so is the class action lawsuit. 

Of course, when the first news of this terrible tragedy began to spread, our first thoughts were of the possible millions of pets who would die prematurely due to what seemed at the time a mysterious illness connected to these particular foods.  What we later found out was that the wheat gluten, used by manufacturers here in North America to boost protein content readings in their pet foods, had been contaminated with melamine, a dangerous chemical that causes extreme illness, kidney failure and even death in animals.

The first class action lawsuit was filed on March 23rd, 2007 in Wisconsin, by over 95 pet owners looking for compensation for their pet’s death and incurred medical expenses directly related to their pet ingesting the contaminated foods.  Some pet owners now deal with daily blood analysis for their pet, keeping a tight eye on such things as heart and kidney function, not to mention the incurred veterinarian bills in upwards of thousands of dollars. 

Since the first lawsuit filed against Menu Foods, Inc., many other lawsuits have been filed in such states at California, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Robert Pierce, a Pennsylvanian lawyer, filed the lawsuit in Pennsylvania of behalf of all pet owners in his State that have suffered due to the pet food contamination.  The lawsuit accuses the manufacturers of negligence, violations of consumer protection law and breach of warranty.  His advice to anyone who has been affected by this recall is to “save your evidence.”


1.       Save any receipts for the contaminated food purchased

2.       Save any contaminated food you may still possess

3.       Save any receipts of medical costs incurred

4.       Speak with your Vet and let them know you are taking part in a lawsuit and that they may need to prepare a report stating your pet did in fact get sick due to the specific contaminated products.


The purpose of a lawsuit becoming a “class action” lawsuit is to save court time.  As Robert Piece explains, “When you have a large number of animals, a common question of law, and the ability to resolve them with one particular lawsuit, that is why a class action is used -- to help avoid excessive amounts of court time, deciding each case one case at a time.”

 To become a part of a class action lawsuit in your State, first find the law firm that is representing pet owners in your State.  Then contact them and let them know that you wish to be a part of the class.  When a lawsuit is initially filed, it must be confirmed by a judge of its “class action” status.  Once that is granted, then all potential class action suit clients will be notified and asked whether or not they wish to take part in the furtherance of the lawsuit.

 There are a lot of very sad and angry pet owners out there, and outside of these lawsuits getting the appropriate compensation for these pet owners, I’d just like to put the focus back on those precious little fuzzy friends we all love and adore who are the real victims of this accident. 

 Please take a moment and remember all those pets that are now seriously ill or have lost their lives due to the carelessness of these large commercial manufacturers.


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 Links to various lawsuits:


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