Whole Foods Escapes Another Lawsuit Unscathed

Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy

Back in June, Whole Foods was in the news after the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs alleged that the grocery chain regularly overcharged customers by mislabeling the weights on prepackaged food. Whole Foods eventually settled that dispute for $500,000. However, a couple of shoppers looking to bring a class-action suit against the brand based on these finding weren't so lucky.

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed the case of two plaintiffs who were seeking damages based on New York's findings that Whole Foods had been overcharging local shoppers. Though Whole Foods – which didn't have to admit any wrong doing – ended up settling with the city, the judge ruled that these particular customers couldn't provide enough evidence that they personally had been ripped off.

The judge stated that the plaintiffs made "a claim solely on probabilistic evidence of injury" and "do not allege that any particular purchase they made was affected by this practice," according to New York Law Journal. To put it another way: Since the plaintiffs didn't have the products or the receipts they claimed they purchased, you could say that the two customers essentially ate the evidence.

Class action lawsuits like these often get criticized for being opportunistic. Proponents of the class action system, however, will tell you these kinds of suits are necessary to keep corporations in check. But when Whole Foods settled with the city, the company also agreed to start conducting audits to make sure foods were weighed and labeled properly moving forward – meaning Whole Foods had already been taken to task, leaving this additional lawsuit looking like more of a money grab.

But hey, you gotta make a buck somehow, especially if you want to shop at expensive grocery stores like Whole Foods. Now more accurately priced, but still expensive.

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