Water Bottle Company Sues Distributors Over Alleged Contaminated Bottled Water

Salvare La Vita Water LLC (Vita Water) filed a complaint Nov. 23 in the Northern District of Texas against defendants Crazy Bottling Company LLC (Crazy Bottling); Famous Mineral Water Company LP; and Famous Water Holdings LLC (together, Famous Water) alleging the defendants provided contaminated bottled water to a customer of Vita Water.

Vita Water is a California company that “sells bottled water products to stores and companies.” Apple Inc., Vita Water’s largest customer, after several years of business together, asked the plaintiff to change its product packaging from plastic bottles with plastic caps to glass bottles with aluminum caps in an effort to be more environmentally conscious; this required significant costs and changes in Vita Water’s supply chain. As a result, Apple agreed to significantly increase the amount of product it purchased, totaling more than $1 million in annual sales. When looking for a supplier who had the capacity to satisfy the volume of water needed and the bottling requirements, Vita Water found the defendants; during negotiations, Famous Water provided water samples and test results that claimed that the water was safe to consume.

According to the complaint, Vita Water contracted with Crazy Bottling and Famous Water “to purchase and custom bottle mineral water for sale to Vita Water’s customers.” However, the disagreement began because the defendants provided bottled water that “was contaminated with, among other things, live protozoa that could be seen wriggling when placed under a microscope,” the complaint said. The plaintiff stated that around the end of 2018 to the beginning of 2019, it started to contract with the defendants. The defendants sent the first shipment of 84,000 glass bottles of water in February 2019, which was delivered to Apple. Vita Water averred that it “was not aware Defendants’ bottled water was contaminated until Apple notified Vita Water that multiple bottles contained floating yellow flakes.” However, Vita Water asserted that when Crazy Bottling and Famous Water were presented with these claims, the defendants argued that “the flakes were naturally occurring minerals.” Specifically, the defendants stated that the “particles were ‘minerals that have dropped out of the water,’ that it was typical of mineral water, and the water was safe to drink.” Vita Water told Apple this information.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff contended that Apple and Vita Water conducted multiple independent laboratory tests, which “confirmed that biological material was present in the bottled water Defendants provided, including live protozoa.” In particular, Apple’s independent laboratory, Aemtak Inc., stated that the “brown-orange clumps … were biofilms. According to Aemtak, Inc., inside these biofilms were hyphal fragments, yeast-like cells, and live protozoa.” Vita Water’s independent laboratory results indicated “that the plate count in the water was over three times” what is acceptable for drinking water. Afterwards, Apple canceled its contract with Vita Water. The plaintiff said it agreed to recall these water bottles but claimed that the defendants refused to assist with the recall. Moreover, Vita Water claimed that the defendants “brazenly rejected” and failed to do anything when shown that the independent laboratory results proved that the water was contaminated. Consequently, Vita Water and Apple no longer have a business relationship, according to the complaint. Furthermore, Vita Water claimed that after losing Apple as a customer, it “has effectively gone out of business, losing millions of dollars in the process.”

The causes of action for the aforementioned conduct are breach of contract, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability for food, negligence, negligent recall, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices — Consumer Protection Act.

Vita Water has sought an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and other relief.

Vita Water is represented by Howry Breen & Herman, L.L.P. and the Law Offices of Ara Jabagchourian, P.C.