February 11, 2021 - $12.5 Million Settlement Given Initial Approval
Preliminary approval has been granted to a $12.5 million settlement that will end multidistrict litigation alleging Hill’s Pet Nutrition sold dog food with dangerously high vitamin D levels.
Preliminary approval of the deal, which now awaits final approval, was granted by U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson following a Zoom hearing on February 2, 2021. The settlement covers consumers nationwide who bought the affected dog food products between September 2018 and May 2019. The deal stipulates that consumers will be allowed to file claims for both dog injuries and for the cost of Hill’s products.
A hearing for final approval of the settlement is tentatively scheduled for July 27, 2021.
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June 6, 2019 – Class Actions Over Hill’s Pet Nutrition Vitamin D Levels Consolidated in Kansas
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated six proposed class action lawsuits against Hill’s Pet Nutrition over its alleged sale of dog food containing dangerous levels of vitamin D to federal court in Kansas.
According tothe panel’s transfer order, the parties involved in the six cases supported centralizing the litigation yet disagreed with regard to the district into which the cases should be moved. The District of Kansas was selected, the panel said, due to its home as Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s headquarters and because it serves as the location of key evidence and witnesses.
While as many as 23 cases could potentially be added, the lawsuits moved into the MDL—In Re: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Dog Food Products Liability Litigation—so far are:
“On the basis of the papers filed and the hearing session held, we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the District of Kansas will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation,” the transfer order states.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition facesmore potential class action litigationover the revelation that some of its canned dog food may contain potentially fatal amounts of vitamin D. The lawsuit, filed in California, charges that Hill’s Pet Nutrition has not only sold products that are toxic to dogs, but that its decision to issue a sweeping recall was “unreasonably delayed” despite the fact that it possessed knowledge that the products were not fit for pets’ consumption.
From the suit:
“Based on Defendant’s various affirmations of fact and purportedly ‘clinically proven’ effectiveness, consumers across the country pay a premium for the Products, believing they are tailored to the specific needs of their dogs and safe for pet consumption.
Additionally, based on Defendant’s representations and affirmations of fact set forth above, veterinarians prescribe Hill’s Prescription Diet Products to dog owners who need specialty food.
However, the Products were not safe, as they had dangerously elevated levels of vitamin D that have proven to be toxic and even lethal.
Excessive vitamin D poses substantial and unreasonable risks to dogs. As set forth above, Defendant itself recognized in recalling a subset of its Products, ‘elevated levels of vitamin D’ can cause symptoms such as ‘vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss,’ and can lead to ‘serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction and failure and death.’”
In addition to monetary damages, the plaintiff asks the court to injunctively order Hill’s Pet Nutrition to identify all of its products that may contain elevated levels of vitamin D through comprehensive testing to ensure the affected products are removed from the market.