Black Pepper Slack-Fill Cases Consolidated
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated three putative consumer class actions and a competitor lawsuit challenging McCormick’s alleged under-filling of its non-transparent black pepper containers. In re McCormick & Co. Inc. Pepper Prods. Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2665 (D.D.C., transfer order filed December 8, 2015). The court found that the actions involved common factual questions “about the propriety of McCormick’s pricing and packaging of its pepper products under various federal and state laws.” The transfer order notes that the plaintiffs of one consumer suit argued the competitor action be excluded, but the court found the action had a “clear factual overlap with the other cases.” The cases will continue in the District of District of Columbia and may involve additional tag-along actions as well.
Additional information about the competitor action, brought by Minnesota-based Watkins Inc., appears in Issue 568 of this Update; details about a putative consumer class action in New York federal court appear in Issue 569.