A federal court judge has preliminarily approved a $2.15 million settlement to a class action lawsuit against Natura Pet Products that alleges the manufacturer misrepresented the quality of its pet food.
Natura admits no wrongdoing in the case but considers a settlement desirable because it “will bring to an end the expense and burdens associated with continued litigation,” according to court documents. Natura officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The lawsuit, filed in March 2009, alleges Natura’s website and labeling contain “a large number of misleading and false statements relating primarily to assertions concerning the human-grade quality of its food.” The plaintiff alleged that these statements included such claims as “We only use ingredients you’d eat yourself,” “All of our human grade dog and cat foods are carefully cooked and tested…” and “Natura’s products use only human grade ingredients.”
As part of the settlement, which U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel preliminarily approved earlier this month, Natura would stop promoting its pet food products as human grade, human quality or as something that “you would eat yourself.”
Natura also would establish a $2.15 million settlement fund. The settlement fund will be used to make payments to class members, as well as cover attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.
Class members include all U.S. residents who purchased any Natura product between March 20, 2005, and July 8, 2011. These products include Innova, Evo, California Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma dog and cat food.
Members may be eligible for a payment of up to $200. To be eligible for a payment, class members must submit a claim form, available at PetProductsSettlement.com, by Jan. 8, 2012.
A final fairness hearing is set for Feb. 17, 2012, at the District Court for the Northern District of California. At that time, the court will determine whether to grant final approval of the settlement.<HOME>
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