Menu Foods Gag Order Prevents Claims

Today Menu Foods posted a notice on their website to US and Canadian residents. The notice states that a US Federal Court issued an order that prohibits Menu Foods from communicating with any individual US pet owner which prevents them from resolving any claims until the courts permit.

Menu Foods is also not settling any claims with any Canadian pet owner for now (even though Menu Foods believes that the prohibition does not extend to Canada).

The full notices after the jump.

UPDATE: Law firm explains why Menu Foods can’t talk to you. 

(Thanks Steve)


Notice to US Residents:

May 24, 2007

Dear Pet Owner:

Thank you for your interest in Menu Foods. Menu Foods wants to express sympathy to those pet owners whose pets have become sick or died, and to assure you that we are doing everything we can to address your concerns. It has always been our desire to compensate pet owners for reasonable expenses that we can identify as being caused by contamination of Menu Foods’ products.

On May 24, 2007, a United States federal court issued an order that, for the time being, prevents Menu Foods from having direct contact with individual U.S. pet owners. In light of the order, we regret that we cannot communicate with you at this time. As soon as the court permits, we intend to resume efforts to resolve claims directly with pet owners. We will post additional information when we are able.


Notice to Canadian Residents:

May 24, 2007

Dear Pet Owner:

Thank you for your interest in Menu Foods. Menu Foods wants to express sympathy to those pet owners whose pets have become sick or died, and to assure you that we are doing everything we can to address your concerns. It has always been our desire to compensate pet owners for reasonable expenses that we can identify as being caused by contamination of Menu Foods’ products.

On May 24, 2007, a United States federal court issued an order that, for the time being, prevents Menu Foods from having direct contact with individual U.S. pet owners. While we do not believe the prohibition extends to Canada, Menu Foods is reviewing how best we can be fair to both Canadian residents and U.S. residents, so that all of the claims of pet owners can be resolved. Until this review is complete, Menu Foods is not in a position to settle claims by Canadian pet owners. We will post additional information when our review is complete.

42 Responses to “Menu Foods Gag Order Prevents Claims”

  1. Judy says:

    I’m sure that THIS will drag out in the court system forever - certainly long enough to ensure that pet owners whose pets have died or become ill get a grand total of NOTHING but heartache. Jackasses!

  2. Phoebe says:

    Well, golly, how convenient for Menu Foods. This wouldn’t be one of the federal courts that had a White House crony installed as either the prosecutor or judge, would it? If so, that gag order will never expire, although any hope for successful - and justified - lawsuits certainly will.

    Gotta love those family values.

  3. Sandy says:

    What a sad day when another arm of the gov tells us to bend over and take it..I say Boycott ANYTHING EVER MADE BY MENU …it will hurt them because then the companies that make their foods there will not use them..ya cant make money on what you dont sell

    And may I say they can all go to hell

  4. Steve says:

    Is this a Menu stalling tactic or did someone go to court to stop Menus claims people from trying to rip pet owners off by luring them to sign off on some pennies on the dollar deal?

  5. Steve says:

    Feb 20th - Menu Foods receives first reports of problems with pet food.
    Feb 26th - Menu foods commence tests on 50 animals.
    Feb 26th & 27th - Menus CFO sells half his shares for $102,900.
    March 16th - Recall announced. Share price plunges
    April 10th - CFO calls this a “horrible coincidence”

  6. Kat says:

    I tend to agree with Steve. I think Menu was trying probably trying to get people to settle out-of-court, when this really is criminal & NEEDS to be heard in court.

  7. Kat says:

    I have a BIG ROLL of duct tape, if that would help. Or, even a dirty sock to gag ‘em with! :)

  8. Phoebe says:

    Menu’s CFO sold half his shares before they announce the recall and it’s just a “horrible coincidence?” They put Martha Stewart in prison for insider trading that wasn’t nearly as blatant. Nothing will happen to Menu’s CFO, though.

    Steve, I tried to locate more info. on today’s motion in federal court that Menu references on their website, but couldn’t narrow it down. I Googled “Federal Court Menu Foods” and got back over 1,000,000 links. Menu’s legal staff has been rather busy.

  9. DMS says:

    I will never buy another product from menu foods as long as I live!! I hope they reap all they have sewn!!! This is outrageous and insulting!

    In regard to the pet parents who have listed skin infections in dogs that ate the contaminated food, would that be staph infections that are very stubborn? Has anyone noticed a strange smell to their affected dogs?

  10. YaYa says:

    Maybe cause it’s late and I’m tired but I thought Menu Foods WAS a Canadian Company?

    You know, I mean HQ IN Canada.
    They have had Poisoned food issues in Both Countries.
    But I would not think USA has jurisdiction over a Canadian Co. nor that a Ruling IN the USA could affect a “Canadian Co”.. Or Canadians.
    They’d have to have their Own Suit.
    Right?
    How’d this “happen” on the SAME Day?
    For BOTH Residents?

    Wouldn’t they have to go after them “locally” 1st. Say like the County or State of the MF Plants, here in the USA. One was in Kansas in the same county as Wichita- which I think is Sedgwick County.
    See what paper were filed.
    Call the Original County Court house there?
    There were several states involved with MF.

    Could we follow it from there to see where it’s moved up the ladder to?
    Capital for Kansas is Topeka. {for State issues?}
    Could it really be in a Federal Court already? I think that would be maybe the 7th {what “Judicial”?}.

    Well I still can’t see how a USA court could tell anyone in Canada to diddley squat! {or Canada vice versa}

    Is this even a Legit story from Menu Foods???? Sounds Weird.
    Why did they not just Post the Court Orders on line??
    It IS public Info.
    A “gag order”???

    This ain’t that Anna Nicole Crap! :-P
    {Oooooowa! Maybe it’s National Secrets?! :-P }

    Maybe a Deal with, ChemNutra involved???
    What’s that, Nevada?

    {I never liked thefact they were trying to get people to sign and send in those forms PRIOR to Class Action type suits, might make Those particular client unable to Join a Class Action, after that sort of “settlement” personally with Menu Foods.{?} }

    Anyone remember the Name of the Town for the Kansas Menu Foods Plant?

  11. kellie says:

    well,
    i ahd started buying evo, innova, wellness and ca wet.
    even tho i wanted to avoid but its all my cats would eat.

    no more
    i’ll find something else.

    nothing from menu ever.

    NATURA IF YOU HAVE LURKERS HERE PLEASE STOP USING MENU FOR YOUR WET FOODS. PLEASE LET ME SUPPORT YOUR BRAND WITHOUT SUPPORTING MENU>>MENU IS A DISGRACE…this whole thing sickens me to no end.

  12. Phoebe says:

    Yaya, I wondered the same thing about the federal court “order” as stated by Menu. Usually they’d post a case number or something as a reference. Menu just expects people to believe what they say. What with their fine reputaton for honesty, full-disclosure, and all.

    Yeah, that’ll work.

    At least pet owners in the States have the alleged “motion” put forth as the latest excuse for inaction by Menu. Canadians don’t even get that. All they get is a ‘we’ll get back to you whenever’ kiss-off. To be “fair” to both American and Canadian pet owners, of course.

    What fine, upstanding corporate citizens there are at Menu.

  13. Katie says:

    What if there’s a different angle to this? Maybe Menu Foods really is being prevented from communicating with pet owners by US Federal Court, and maybe it’s because the US government is trying keep a lid on a growing food scare that they have reason to believe is much bigger than we know yet.

  14. Karen V says:

    Well, the Financial Report for Menu is coming out on the 30th. Wouldn’t want to taint the figures with actual projected losses. Because they are so upfront and honest.

    Court order my butt. Its a stall tactic.

  15. Lynn says:

    TO:Steve Says: May 24th, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    “On May 24, 2007, a United States federal court issued an order that, for the time being, prevents Menu Foods from having direct contact with individual U.S. pet owners.”

    I left a message for my cousin, an attorney, to call me and answer that one. Must admit, Steve, it sure does sound like Duane-o speaking.

  16. mittens says:

    their products are sold in america therefore they can be subject to our courts. there are cases in at least 8 usa federal courts and they haven’t judged whether it is a class action suit yet- which in truth could be why perhaps, not the courts, but menu foods’ own lawyers have told them not to communicate with customers. a judge has to deem it a class action suit- which is apparently not a simple process. the case for deciding if it’s a class action suit is-

    Majerczyk et al. v. menu foods No. 07cu1543

    there’s apparently a special panel that looks at multidistrict litigation. the US federal courts have sat in judgement of suits brought by our government and citizens against not just citizens of foreign powers but against those countries themselves. it has happened often enough. i believe it happened with that plane crash in scotland- vs. libya and libya lost.

    here’s a helpful explanation of some of what’s going on which in part informed some of my comments-

    http://news.findlaw.com/andrew.....tfood.html

    no lawyer worth their pay has a defendant in a suit of any kind speak to the plaintifs..theyre probably being coy with their wording. the judges are ruling on a class action suit so the lawyers told them to shut the blank up and say the court ‘ told’ them to do it.

    turds.

    a list of the many cases can in part be found here- scroll down to the obvious post

    http://www.scienceevidence.com.....oxicology/

  17. mittens says:

    here’s the paperwork for just one case-it appears that menu foods is appealing to the court to stay the proceedings because they’re being sued in so many different districts and a panel is viewing the saatus of the cases- ie whether they are in sum a class action suit.

    http://dockets.justia.com/dock.....id-200765/

  18. mittens says:

    well there are quite a few cases- here are the names and dockets etc-
    i love the internets. i bet menu food hates the internets.

    i can has … lawsuit?

    you bet miss kitty…

    http://news.justia.com/cases/menu-foods/

  19. mittens says:

    http://news.justia.com/cases/menu-foods/

    an extensive list of the cases

  20. Kiki says:

    THIS IS COMPLETE AND UTTER %^LL $%IT. Menu Foods can rot in hell. Just take a stand and DO NOT buy anything that is produced by them. We already know all the pet food they produce. When in doubt, call the pet food company. I hope they go down big time. A stall tactic, for sure. They don’t want to deal anymore. I hope a 1000 more lawsuits are filed.

  21. Ann H says:

    If someone knows which federal district court issued the order, I can get it.

    I just sent the Stay Order & Preservation of Evidence docket entry from one case to Itchmo that discusses the MDL panel hearing May 31st and the consolidation issues.

    Notable: An amended complaint was filed naming the Chinese companies as defendants Central District California Western Division 07-CV-01958.

  22. Carol says:

    Why does the US court have anything to say about Menu dealing with me directly as I am not part of any lawsuit and have not hired an attorney??? Anybody out there with info??

  23. Ann H says:

    I found one that fits the Show Cause hearing of 5/24.
    It was case 07-1338 Workman et al v Menu Foods et al. New Jersey.

    The request was from a 5/18 hearing and response 5/21 RE: an Emergency Motion to Show cause why defendants communications should not be limited or supervised and the attachments were those on the Menu Foods website to settle claims.

  24. Amy B says:

    Well, well, well,….I finally see that they are giving Iam’s dry a second look. My 2 dogs are in kidney failure due to dry Iam’s. I haven’t been able to get anyone to respond or listen because it’s not on the recall list! Maybe now that some of the dry is suspect, I might have my day!

    Amy-Kansas
    Boxers- Dexter(7)
    Meeka (3)

  25. YaYa says:

    So the New Jersey ‘ruling’ is tryng to Protect pet parents. Keeping Menu Foods from communications with Them {the pet parents}, when they {the pet parents} have No “representation” {by an attorney}. Right?
    {so they can’t be swayed and release Menu Foods from Further suits from those particular pet parents, possibly?}

    Carol, the way I understand it, If a court says Menu Foods you may Not speak to x-y-z, that’s enough. You can stand there and talk To ‘them’ till you become blue in the face, but THEY are/have been Ordered to Not talk.
    Did that make sense?! :-D

    The Courts are trying to Protect US. {in their way, is what I get}

    Let’s say your sign that Claim form {and IF it says THIS IS *IT*} from April? with Menu Foods for $500.00; then down the road there is a a Possible {wild amount here} 300Billion Lawsuit let’s say; IF you previously igned the April claim; YOU ARE OUT ofAny future claims.

    It’s a Tactic some Big “suit types issues” the Companies use. Cut you off at the knees FIRST. Then YOU won’t be a problem down the road.

  26. andy121106 says:

    I can’t beleive the arrogance that Menu Foods portrays: First when go to the recall information from their website they refer you to the FDA for a complete listing of recalled items —-we all know the FDA is useless, they can’t keep up with the changing information they are slow to post, won’t reveal where tainted product went and claim to have no power to issue a recall.
    Then they list “claims information” when you go in there the first line states “Thank you for your interest in menu foods” ——are you kidding! are they nuts? We are no more interested in menu foods as menu foods is interested in the health of our pets! This company has been in the business for profit only ——–since they started!
    Over 8,500(FDA numbers probably low balled) reported deaths and counting proves they never cared and there is nothing they can say now to make us think they ever will.
    There has been substantial talk of other companies like Nutro and Iams and others secretly replacing old product on stores shelves with newly manufactured product that has been tested, thus avoiding a recall. They too are concerned about their bottom line only, not our pets! With their actions they left tainted product in the hands of consumers that had already purchased it, thus wiping out thousands of healthly pets and damaging the bond that we and our children had worked years to obtain.
    The damage they have caused is irriversable, I do not see it ending anytime soon even after the lawsuits are settled it will be back to business as usual. I don’t have a resolve to this matter either and that leaves me baffaled, these companies have no heart!

  27. 4lgdfriend says:

    slimy b@$+ards

  28. YaYa says:

    Thank You Ann for checking into this.

    So it’s here, the First filings were in Lyons County Kansas- Emporia, Kansas.

    Also Menu Foods did do that filing against Pet parent in LA ‘Superior’ court? to Stop the order/motion? to Release Company records to them. {them= pet parents} {like shipping/receiving?} I think that was the 1st part of May.
    {judge said, for right now he’d not rule on this, has it changed I wonder?}

    “Nope, nuthin’ wrong here” :-P

  29. Ann H says:

    Also, it’s alleged that Menu foods had communicated with over 19,000 people, some of whom were plaintiffs in cases and that’s a “no, no”.

    Good PR move on Menu’s standpoint to try to get folks to sign off and exclude them from the lawsuit if class action status is granted or from filing more suits if class action status is not granted.

    So, IMO, if it’s a good PR move on Menu’s side, then bets are it’s a potentially bad move to sign their agreements. Each has to consider their own situation. I wish they’d be required to set up a fund to reimburse on an emergency basis to help any ill animal needing continued care… but, I’m probably dreaming :(

    Besides, if they get you to sign and you’re pet was initially treated and survived, you still have no knowledge of long term affects on your pet. We still do not know what all the suspected contaminates were/are (redacted in FDA document).

    My understaniding is if you “settle” and then you become aware of the consequences to the long-term health of your animal and the costs of any special diet required, medications if applicable, veterinary costs, tests, hospitalization, you’d have already signed away your recourse- unless there is a stipulation in that inital agreement that they will cover future costs associated with your pet’s health.

    The attorneys allegedly couldn’t get an definitive answer from Menu where information from individual settlements obtained would/would not be excluded from any litigation case pending.

    With some media reporting criminal charges were to be filed (didn’t Menu/ChemNutra say that in an article), without knowledge of specifics relating to that or parties, I’d be hesitant in settling anything.

  30. Cheryl W says:

    I cannot remember all of the foods that are made by Menu Foods. Is there an accurate list somewhere or can someone repost it here? It is getting so hard to eep up with who makes what.

  31. YaYa says:

    I think there is a current list at

    http:/www.petfoodtracker.com

    Kim keeps on Top of things pretty well.

    {hope I remembered the URL right!}

  32. YaYa says:

    PooH!

    it’s: http://www.petfoodtracker.com

    There, that’s better :-D

  33. Lynn says:

    MENU FOODS AND GAG ORDER:
    Last night some bloggers asked if Menu Foods could really have been issued a gag order by the Federal Court, as they claimed on their website. I checked with an attorney and his response was:

    “The order does appear valid. Apparently what occurred is that many people have filed class action lawsuits and the court is attempting to put the overall contamination/ settlement question in context. Not unusual in those type of suits.”

  34. Karen V says:

    Gag order/HHHHMMMM. Perhaps in result of them trying to settle - Ann has been rather helpful. One other as comparison is the Paypal Class Actions (though I did not participate, never had a problem that qualified).

    In this instance - ONE Firm represented the CLass - Once Class status is assigned - IT COVERS EVERYONE - until the case is over with. Paypal did not have a Gag order, though if you were a named Plaintiff - they probably didn’t want to talk with you. If you called and questioned after the settlement was proposed - they might explain the options (in this case of the Settlement - as always - Paypal admits to no wrongdoing).

    Now the problem runs into ALL THESE FIRMS TRYING TO GET CLASS STATUS!! They can’t get blanket Class, since only ONE FIRM can. If that happens (and menu’s lawyers are savvy enought to point this out - re over 50 lawsuits in play) the other lawsuits are either dismissed, or change of role. All Firms want the BIG BUCKS that come with the Class Action.

    However, Customer Service shouldn’t be a GAG ORDER!! As in the case of Paypal, they continued to speak with clients. So I guess most cases for settlement without an attorney - will now need to go through the retailers themselves? (Yeah, right).

  35. Karen V says:

    Gag order/HHHHMMMM. Perhaps in result of them trying to settle - Ann has been rather helpful. One other as comparison is the Paypal Class Actions (though I did not participate, never had a problem that qualified).

    In this instance - ONE Firm represented the CLass - Once Class status is assigned - IT COVERS EVERYONE - until the case is over with. Paypal did not have a Gag order, though if you were a named Plaintiff - they probably didn’t want to talk with you. If you called and questioned after the settlement was proposed - they might explain the options (in this case of the Settlement - as always - Paypal admits to no wrongdoing).

  36. Karen V says:

    Am I caught in a spam filter?

  37. Ann H says:

    Karen V,

    If I remember correctly there are different types of class action lawsuits. I don’t know the impact, but the MDL on May 31 will give us a clue about what direction this will be taking.

    By definition, I don’t think this is literally a “gag order”. It seems to me to be more of a halt to settlement discussions/redefine settlement aspects until the legal issues are reviewed and as a means to protect consumers until that time.

  38. Ann H says:

    These documents, Docket #10-1 & Docket #20, should give everybody a bit more insight into why Menu Foods had to revisit the settlement/claims information they had previously posted on their website.

    Workman et al v Menu Foods et al
    http://news.justia.com/cases/menu-foods/345169/

    Docket #10-1 Probably will help give some insight too (1 is the Memorandum of Law to support the motion)

    Docket #20
    http://news.justia.com/cases/m.....9/20/0.pdf

  39. Itchmo » Blog Archive » EXCLUSIVE: Law Firm Says Menu Foods Gag Order Is Voluntary says:

    […] According to a letter obtained by Itchmo, a law firm handling the Menu Foods class action lawsuit indicates that Menu Foods voluntarily agreed to stop communicating with affected pet owners — a point Menu Foods’ website posting left out. […]

  40. Linda says:

    DMS, Although my dog is recovering, she does have a strange odor that comes and goes, even my mother noticed it. Don’t have internet at home, leaving work for holiday, guess I’ll have to wait for Tuesday to find out more if anyone else knows about this.

  41. YaYa says:

    Thank You, Ann H. and Itchmo.

    “gag order” Ha! I thought so!

    Will they EVER get it that, it would Behoove them to
    just be Straight for once?

    Nah. Don’t think So.

    Can’t even P-R-I-N-T the Truth!

    Whadaya think we are here, a bunch of Chumps?!

    You Wish!

  42. Rex H. says:

    Many of the answers to the questions are in the USA Today online edition. In a story just released, they disclose that a review of court transcript shows judge was really angered at Menu’s conduct and that Menu agreed because their whole settlement approach was under severe attack by judge.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/n.....ment_N.htm

    the Judge said, “It seems to me that Menu Food is out to do whatever Menu Foods wants to do in a way that could adversely impact the rights of (possible members of the class action suit.”

    WOW-us pet owners again have to thank Jay Edelson for bringing Menu foods conduct to light and getting the court to force menu to do the right thing.


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