A NY federal judge consolidated more than a dozen suits that claim Nurture Inc. manufactured baby food containing dangerous heavy metals, just a few months after similar litigation against another baby food maker, Hain Celestial Group Inc., was joined in another court.
U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil brought the total number of consolidated suits to 17. The deadline for similar lawsuits to join is Oct. 29.
The consolidation accounts only for the personal consumer protection claims against Nurture. Judge Vyskocil ordered that all personal injury claims resulting from the company’s allegedly tainted baby food should be consolidated in a separate proceeding.
These lawsuits were filed following a February report from the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform that discovered high levels of heavy metals in baby foods produced by Nurture, Gerber Products Co., Plum Public Benefit Corp., Hain, Sprout Foods and Walmart. The report said arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury were present at “significant levels.”
The consumers in the proposed class actions against Nurture, including lead plaintiff Nicole Stewart of Hauppauge, New York, all cite the report in their lawsuits. Stewart claims she found “dangerous levels” of those toxic heavy metals in her Nuture products, including the “Happy Baby Apple Rice Cakes.”
The companies, for the most part, have resisted efforts to lump lawsuits against each manufacturer into one collection and so far, they’ve been successful. A New York Eastern District judge combined similar claims against Hain Celestial Group in May and kept the actions filed against Gerber Products Co. separate.