Worry over getting sick not standing to sue, says CAVA in PFAS lawsuit
SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – Plaintiffs who weren’t physically harmed failed to show they have standing to sue, says a Mediterranean food restaurant chain accused of using packaging that contains chemicals known as PFAS.
CAVA Group responded to a recent lawsuit on July 14 with a motion to dismiss, as they fight lawyers hoping to open a new front on PFAS litigation – the consumer class action.
“Yet Plaintiffs do not, and cannot, allege a single instance of actual harm from their eating a CAVA grains and/or greens meal,” the motion says.
“Plaintiffs come before the court with what is essentially an untested medical hypothesis – unmoored to a single test or data point connected to their own experience – premised on their alleged anxiety about the sheer possibility of future physical injury.
“This is plainly insufficient to confer Article III standing.”
Lawyers at Bursor & Fisher filed suit against CAVA Group on April 27 in San Diego federal court. The case is part of a growing trend of cases involving chemicals known as PFAS, which are found in firefighting foam and consumer products like non-stick cookware and have made their way into the bloodstreams of virtually every American
PFAS lawsuits blame the chemicals for a variety of health problems, some of which were linked by a health study that was part of a settlement with DuPont. But others say the science on how PFAS affect the human body is incomplete.
Meanwhile, as the government still requires PFAS in its firefighting foam on military bases, lawyers pursue litigation like an Ohio class action that alleges no illnesses. Most PFAS cases are sent to a federal multidistrict litigation proceeding in South Carolina federal court.
The case against Cava Grill is similar to others against chains like Burger King and McDonald’s and alleges Cava misled consumers with promises to rid its packaging of PFAS.
“Food… cannot be artificial,” is one claim cited from in-store signage, as is “Cava Grill is evolved to be smarter, healthier, and more transparent.”
Statements about Cava food being “better for your body” are also at issue in the suit.
“At bottom, this suit was prompted by, and relies solely on, the publication of an unsubstantiated, non-peer-reviewed third-party magazine article regarding an extremely wide class of chemicals (organic fluorine, essentially compounds with carbon atoms bonded to fluorine atoms), which even Plaintiffs concede are not equivalent to PFAS—itself an extremely wide and diverse family of over 10,000 different chemicals,” the motion says.
“Further, among thousands of members of the PFAS family, many have been approved by the FDA as safe specifically for use in human food contact materials, while only a small subset have been the focus of concern due to their potential human toxicity.”
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