A federal appeals court has revived a proposed class-action lawsuit that accuses Whole Foods Market of overcharging shoppers in New York City. The issue stems from the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs’ report in June 2015, which indicated that all 80 prepackaged foods tested from Whole Foods had mislabeled weights, and 89 percent failed to meet federal labeling standards.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a lower court judge had erred in his ruling that plaintiff Sean John, a purchaser of prepackaged food, had no right to sue because he couldn’t show that Whole Foods overcharged him for a specific purchase.
Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier clarified that John may find “significant evidentiary obstacles” but had legal standing. The case was returned to U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer, who had dismissed the lawsuit in March 2016.
Whole Foods agreed in December to pay $500,000 to settle with New York City, and then-co-chief executives John Mackey and Walter Robb issued apologies. John sought to represent everyone who bought prepackaged goods at Whole Foods Markets in New York City after June 24, 2010.
Whole Foods says it is disappointed with the decision and plans to continue its defense against the plaintiff’s claims.