St. Louis Record

Friday, April 3, 2020

Court grants plaintiffs leave to amend complaint against Walmart over glucosamine supplements


By Gabriel Neves | Feb 21, 2019


ST. LOUIS – A federal court has granted the plaintiffs a leave to amend their complaint in a suit against Walmart over an allegedly deceptive label on a glucosamine dietary supplement.

U.S. District Judge John Ross, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, issued a 12-page ruling on Feb. 12 granting Cynthia Parker and other three individuals a leave to file an amended complaint against Walmart Stores Inc.

Ross ordered the plaintiffs to amend the complaint within seven days of the ruling under penalty of having the case dismissed.

"The court concludes that plaintiffs do not state a facially plausible (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) claim and that their state-law claims are preempted to the extent they seek to impose liability based on defendant’s allegedly misleading label," Ross wrote.

Parker and the other three plaintiffs sued Walmart over allegations the company's glucosamine supplements had misleading statements in the labels regarding its ingredients. They are residents of Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

"Plaintiffs assert that 'glucosamine sulfate has been shown to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, in knees in particular, and can be equally as effective as Tylenol and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” the ruling states. "Plaintiffs allege, however, that defendant’s glucosamine supplement label lists glucosamine sulfate as an ingredient 'when in fact the supplements contain glucosamine hydrochloride and potassium sulfate, less expensive ingredients with no proven efficacy.'” 

The ruling states the plaintiffs also alleged that Walmart "'has long known that there is scant or conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of glucosamine hydrochloride for the treatment of osteoarthritis,' and 'knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that its representations regarding the glucosamine dietary supplements it sold were false or deceptive.'”

The plaintiffs claimed violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and several state laws, including the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, but Walmart stated, per the ruling, that "plaintiffs’ claims are all subject to dismissal because they are preempted by federal law or fail on their merits and adds that plaintiffs lack standing to seek equitable relief."

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri case number 4:18-cv-00465-JAR

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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri