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StarKist Accused Of Consistently Under Filling Tuna Cans American Samoa, March 12, 13

Civil Action Suit Demands Consumers Get Full Restitution
Patrick Hendricks, a citizen of California living in Oakland, has filed a federal civil action against StarKist Co., accusing the owner of StarKist USA, the country’s leading canned tuna brand, of consistently under filling certain StarKist canned tuna products. He claims, among other demands, that StarKist will provide full restitution - to all purchasers of StarKist tuna- of all the money the company obtained from the sales of these products.

The case has been filed on Feb 27th 2013 at the federal court in Oakland, California. The tuna cans involved have been produced at the StarKist Samoa tuna cannery in Pago Pago.

Specific StarKist canned tuna products cited in the 18-page lawsuit are the 5-ounce cans of Chunk Light Tuna in Water; 5-ounce cans of Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water; 5-ounce cans of Solid White Albacore Tuna in Vegetable Oil; and 5-ounce cans of Chunk Light Tuna in Vegetable Oil.

The suit filed by Patrick Hendrick was served on StarKist on Feb 27th with a response due by Mar 21st. However, StarKist attorney Robert B. Hawk last week requested from the court a 30-day extension of time to reply to the complaint.

The suit, which is seeking “class action status”, comes more than a month after the plaintiff -in a Jan 9th , 2013 letter from his attorneys- called on StarKist to take corrective action. The letter served as a “preliminary notice and demand for corrective action by StarKist” pursuant to California’s civil code.

The letter accused StarKist of “systematically underfilling and selling short-weighted cans of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water”, a violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act.

Plaintiff Hendrick says he purchased one or more 5-ounce cans of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water, which were underfilled and thus substantially underweight.

Independent testing by a laboratory retained by Plaintiff’s counsel determined that 5-ounce cans of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water contain an average of only 2.35 ounces of pressed cake tuna when measured precisely according to the methods specified by US 21 Code of Federal regulations, which addresses in chapter 161.190(c) exactly how the weight of the tuna meat within the cans should be determined.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2002-title21-vol2/xml/CFR-2002-title21-vol2-sec161-190.xml
Hendrick’s claims that 2.35 ounces of pressed cake tuna is 17.3% below the federally mandated minimum standard of fill of 2.84 ounces for these cans.

The Plaintiff accuses StarKist of cheating purchasers by providing 17.3% less tuna than purchasers are paying for.

The same laboratory tests revealed that 5-ounce cans of StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water contain an average of only 3.01 ounces of pressed cake tuna, which is 6.8% below the federally mandated minimum standard of fill of 3.23 ounces for these cans

These tests also revealed that 5-ounce cans of StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Vegetable Oil contain an average of only 3.11 ounces of pressed cake tuna, which is 3.7% below the federally mandated minimum standard of fill of 3.23 ounces for these cans.

Finally, these tests revealed that 5-ounce cans of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Vegetable Oil contain an average of only 2.81 ounces of pressed cake tuna, which is 1.1% below the federally mandated minimum standard of fill of 2.84 ounces for these cans.

Plaintiff Hendricks asserts claims on behalf of himself and a nationwide class of purchasers of StarKist Tuna, for breach of express warranty, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, unjust enrichment, violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), violation of the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), violation of the California False Advertising Law (“FAL”), negligent misrepresentation, and fraud.

Attorneys for Hendrick, through the letter, demanded that StarKist immediately cease and desist from continuing to underfill and sell short-weighted cans of tuna; issue an immediate recall of these underfilled short-weighted cans; and make full restitution to all purchasers of StarKist tuna of all money obtained from the sales of these products.