` Kangadis Case Moves Forward Despite Bankruptcy - Olive Oil Times

Kangadis Case Moves Forward Despite Bankruptcy

Sep. 29, 2014
Olive Oil Times Staff

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Plaintiffs in the Kangadis olive oil adul­ter­ation class action law­suit cel­e­brated a small vic­tory last week after a fed­eral judge agreed to move for­ward on the $261 mil­lion case despite the bank­ruptcy of the com­pany.

The case con­cerns Capatriti brand olive oil, which is mar­keted by Kangadis as 100% pure olive oil.” According to the claim made by the plain­tiff, analy­sis deter­mined that the oil in ques­tion is not olive oil at all, but olive pomace oil — a refined oil made from byprod­ucts of the first press­ing of olives, includ­ing left­over pits and pulp extracted through heat and chem­i­cal sol­vents. As the low­est grade of edi­ble oil derived from olives, olive pomace oil is mostly used in the food ser­vice industry.

On Sept. 18, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York ordered the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the class. Certification occurs when the court finds that cer­tain pre­req­ui­sites among the plain­tiffs are met, such as all plain­tiffs shar­ing the same claim.

Rakoff pre­vi­ously cer­ti­fied the Ebin v. Kangadis case in March, but progress stopped due to the bank­ruptcy against Kangadis Food Inc. (KFI). The alle­ga­tions have effec­tively been trans­ferred to a suit against Kangadis Family Management LLC, a com­pany owned by three Kangadis fam­ily mem­bers who are also share­hold­ers of KFI.

The plain­tiffs say that the promise of 100% pure olive oil,” printed on five sides of the Capatriti tins influ­enced their deci­sion to pur­chase the prod­uct and that the false claim vio­lated con­sumer pro­tec­tion laws.

Kangadis has argued against the claim due to the fact that class mem­bers are defined as all per­sons in the United States who pur­chased Capatriti 100 per­cent Pure Olive Oil packed before March 1, 2013.” The com­pany sells to retail­ers, not directly to consumers. 

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However the judge knocked that down. Whether or not an indi­vid­ual pur­chased dur­ing the class period a tin … that actu­ally con­tained pomace is about as objec­tively deter­minable a ques­tion as one can ask,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York wrote in the order.

Last year, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) filed a suit against Kangadis—which con­ducts busi­ness under the Gourmet Factory, Capatriti and Porto names — claim­ing unlaw­ful, mis­lead­ing and decep­tive mis­brand­ing.” Though the NAOOA and Kangadis reached a con­fi­den­tial set­tle­ment in July 2013, legal fees forced the com­pany to declare bankruptcy.


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