Exclusive tuna-eater lawsuit could open Pandora’s Box

By allowing a New Jersey woman to sue a company over the mercury poisoning she allegedly suffered from eating the company’s canned albacore tuna, the U.S. Supreme Court may have opened a can of legal worms, one observer said.

On Monday, the nation’s highest court allowed a lawsuit to move forward that was filed by Deborah Fellner, whose diet consisted almost exclusively of canned tuna for five years.

She sued Tri-Union Seafoods LLC, the maker of Chicken of the Sea brand tuna, for failing to warn her of the dangers of eating its tuna fish product.

For it’s part, the San Diego, Calif.-based company said it was not responsible for condition, arguing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not consider canned tuna fish worthy of mercury warnings to consumers.

“Yet again, federal pre-emption took it on the chin,” opined Law & more Editor Jane Genova. “And a Pandora’s Door of state lawsuits has possibly been thrown open in how the food industry does its labeling.”

Legal News Line
4/21/9