On November 3, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company and Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. announced that they have reached a mutually agreeable settlement of the lawsuits pending between them, related to 2014 false advertising of pet food claims. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
As a result of the settlement agreement, Blue Buffalo and Nestlé Purina have asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to dismiss the claims between the two parties and Purina's agencies with prejudice. Blue Buffalo will continue to prosecute its legal claims against the remaining parties.
History of Purina and Blue Buffalo legal battles
On May 6, 2014, Purina filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for false advertising of pet food after testing revealed the presence of poultry by-product meal in some of Blue Buffalo’s top-selling pet foods. The false advertising of pet food lawsuits claimed that some Blue Buffalo products were not consistent with the company’s “True Blue Promise,” which stated that the products are “formulated with the finest natural ingredients” and made with “no chicken/poultry by-products meals; no corn, wheat or soy; and no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.”
Subsequently, Blue Buffalo officially filed a lawsuit against Purina on May 14, 2014. The lawsuit, in response to a lawsuit filed by Purina against Blue Buffalo, claims defamation, unfair competition, false advertising and violations of trade practice statutes.
On May 6, 2015, Blue Buffalo acknowledged in court that a “substantial” and “material” portion of Blue Buffalo pet food sold to consumers contained poultry by-product meal, despite advertising claims to the contrary. Under the terms of the agreement, Blue Buffalo had to pay US$32 million into a settlement fund to settle the claims of the plaintiff class.
Further legal effects of Blue Buffalo and Purina’s lawsuits
To recoup some of the settlement funds, Blue Buffalo then filed lawsuits against the pet food ingredient broker and supplier involved in the false advertising of pet food case.
On September 27, US District Judge Rodney W. Sippel upheld claims against Diversified Ingredients Inc., the broker that allegedly sold ingredients adulterated with poultry by-product meal to Blue Buffalo, reported Law 360. However, the judge reduced some of the claims to compensation made against the broker by Wilber-Ellis Co., the ingredient supplier involved in a false advertising lawsuit against Blue Buffalo.