A Minnesota federal judge rejected health supplement company Total Life Changes LLC’s request to toss a proposed class action brought by a woman claiming she lost her job due to unknowingly drinking THC-laced tea, saying her recent move out of state isn’t grounds for dismissal.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis said that even though consumer Marilyn Williams left Minnesota, she is still able to sue under three of the state’s consumer protection and fair business statutes because the alleged harm she experienced happened while she was a resident.
Williams’ suit claims that while living in Minnesota she used TLC’s hemp tea with the belief that there were no traceable amounts of THC — the psychoactive chemical in cannabis — in the product based on company packaging, which promised “0.0% THC.”
But Williams later failed a random drug screening at her job, and her employer fired her in July 2020. She moved to Alabama three months later.
TLC argued that it made “little sense” to allow an Alabama resident to sue, in March 2021, and Williams, marveling at the company’s “gall,” shot back in April that she was forced to move because she could no longer pay rent in Minnesota after losing her job, all of which stemmed from the company’s “fraudulent” packaging.
Judge Davis said Williams was correct to sue under Minnesota’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. On this point, Judge Davis said that TLC was not considering the wider implications.
“Without an injunction, Williams or other putative class members might assume that TLC’s continued representations that the tea contains no THC indicate that TLC has eliminated THC from the tea and be deceived into purchasing a THC-laced product,” he said.