Toxic Dog Treat Claims Survive Dismissal Motion


     (CN) – A manufacturer of dog treats using Chinese jerky must face claims from a Texas woman who says they gave her dog kidney failure, a federal judge ruled.
     Jennifer Holt claims she had to euthanize her dog Tucker after the Kingdom Pets chicken jerky treats she fed him up to three times a week led to acute kidney failure. Holt says she bought the treats relying on packaging that said they were made from “100% natural ingredients” and were “wholesome and delicious.” The treats were developed and distributed by Globalinx, which owns the Kingdom Pets Brand.
     Though Globalinx is based in California, the Kingdom Pets chicken jerky products contained chicken jerky from China.
     Holt sued Globalinx and an affiliate in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, but the companies moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. They moved in the alternative strike portions of the first amended complaint concerning class allegations.
     U.S. District Judge David Carter found conflict of laws at issue between Texas and California but concluded Holt had shown enough of link between the treats and Tucker’s injuries to survive the dismissal motion.
     “The court disagrees that plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient evidence to show that defendants’ Kingdom Pets chicken jerky dog treats caused Tucker’s health problems,” he wrote.
     “In this case, it is likely that the toxicity of chicken jerky dog food would not be within the common understanding of a layperson. However, plaintiff has provided a statement from one of Tucker’s treating veterinarians which asserted that she ‘suspect[ed] that there was some toxic exposure [that caused Tucker’s illness]. A reasonable juror could find that the veterinarian’s testimony, in conjunction with the other evidence provided in the FAC [First Amended Complaint], demonstrates that defendants’ Kingdom Pets dog treats caused Tucker’s illness and death. Defendants will be afforded ample opportunity in the future to attempt to impeach the veterinarian and discredit her testimony. However, at the pleading stage, this court must take all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
     The court did identify a problem with Holt’s unjust enrichment claim, and dismissed it with leave to amend.

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