Subway seeks sanctions of over USD 600,000 in “fake” tuna lawsuit

A Subway sandwich.

Subway is asking a federal judge to issue sanctions of nearly USD 618,000 (EUR 563,000) against the attorneys in a lawsuit alleging it sold “fake” tuna.

In documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Subway called the lawsuit “unmeritorious” and contended the attorneys for plaintiffs Nilima Amin and Karen Dhanowa knew the claims were false prior to filing suit.

The plaintiffs originally filed the lawsuit in January 2021, contending that Subway was selling tuna wraps and sandwiches that do not contain any actual tuna fish, Instead, the “‘tuna’ is a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna yet have been blended together by [Subway] to imitate the appearance of tuna,” the complaint stated.

“Defendants have engaged in economic adulteration by selling a food product that partially or wholly lacked the valuable constituents of tuna and that had been substituted in part or whole,” the lawsuit alleged. “Defendants have further committed unlawful adulteration by concealing the inferiority of the products.”

Then, in an amended complaint filed in June 2021, the plaintiffs stated that Subway’s marketing and advertising claims that its tuna is 100 percent sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna and that its tuna does not contain  “tuna species that come from anything less than healthy stocks” are false. That complaint still included the allegation that the tuna is not 100 percent real tuna.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar dismissed those claims in October 2021. The plaintiffs were not able to state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake, and their allegations of fraud were not specific enough “to give defendants notice of the particular misconduct which is alleged to constitute the fraud charged,” Judge Tigar wrote in the order dismissing the complaint.

In November 2021, the plaintiffs submitted a revised class-action lawsuit against Subway claiming the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based restaurant chain’s tuna sandwiches contain other animal proteins such as chicken and pork, instead of “100 percent tuna,” as advertised.

Amin asked U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar to dismiss the case late last week, stating that her severe morning sickness due to pregnancy renders her unable to continue...

Photo courtesy of Prachana Thong-on/Shutterstock

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