Complaints Against Midwestern Pet Foods Consolidated in Indiana Southern District

In an order on Monday, the Indiana Southern District granted a motion to consolidate six lawsuits against Midwestern Pet Foods Inc., each filed in the court by different plaintiffs, which stemmed from the presence of aflatoxins in pet foods with corn products produced by the company.  

The defendant issued a recall for specific Sportmix pet foods produced at a certain facility in December 2020, and later expanded it to include all of the foods produced at its Oklahoma plant which included corn.  According to the expanded recall, at least 70 pets died from consuming the foods, and many others were reportedly sick. 

The moving plaintiff said that each of the issues “involve common questions of fact,” specifically allegations that although Midwestern advertised that its products were nutritious, they were contaminated and were a risk of sickness and death for pets. Each of the combined matters also were putative class-action matters and were brought on behalf of others who purchased the allegedly contaminated products. According to the order, Midwestern did not oppose the consolidation. 

The putative class-action lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs who had pets who either died or became sick after eating the pet foods, some of the pets needed to be euthanized because of the sickness.  The plaintiffs are seeking payment for veterinary expenses, including for some pets who could have lasting health issues and care expenses from the aflatoxin poisoning. 

In the February motion suggesting consolidation, the plaintiffs claimed that it would “serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient course of this litigation.” Along with conserving legal resources, the consolidation will mean discovery will not need to be duplicated and there will not be conflicting rulings in the separate lawsuits. The plaintiffs’ also said that they had already begun meeting to discuss interim counsel so they can make a suggestion to the court.