MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On October 17, 2016, United States District Court Judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle, issued an order denying McCormick & Co.'s (McCormick) motion to dismiss claims alleging the company had “slack-filled” its black pepper containers.
The lawsuit, filed by Watkins Incorporated (Watkins) in June of 2015, alleged that McCormick illegally reduced the contents of its black pepper containers by up to twenty-five percent without reducing the size of its containers—an action that is commonly referred to as “slack-filling.”
"There can be no question that McCormick falsely tried to deceive consumers into believing that there wasn't any reduction in the contents of their pepper containers, otherwise why wouldn't they have reduced the size of their pepper tins and bottles by twenty-five percent?” says Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins. “We're very pleased that Judge Huvelle ruled that Watkins has standing to pursue its claims under the Lanham Act.”
In the October 17 ruling, the order by Judge Huvelle states, "Moreover in this case, the size of McCormick's containers (with reduced contents) is exactly what makes them misleading because consumers cannot see the amount of their contents.”
“We're happy that Judge Huvelle confirmed that Watkins can continue its lawsuit against McCormick for slack-filling its pepper tins and bottles,” says Jacobs. “In Judge Huvelle’s ruling, she determined that ‘Watkins has made sufficient allegations to establish that McCormick's slack-filled packaging caused Watkins to lose sales.’”
“Our consumers are extremely important to us and we will continue to uphold our commitment of providing them with quality spices, extracts, home and body care as we have done for the past 148 years,” says J.R. Rigley, President and CMO of Watkins.
A copy of Judge Huvelle's order is available upon request.
About J.R. Watkins
Crafted in the USA Since 1868…Naturally.™ The J.R. Watkins Co. creates gourmet spices and extracts, personal care and home care products with only the finest natural ingredients. From the bluffs high above the Mississippi River in Winona, Minnesota, comes the purity of J.R. Watkins. Our tried-and-true products have been good and natural through and through since 1868. J.R. Watkins products are available at a variety of North American retailers and online at JRWatkins.com. For more information, visit JRWatkins.com or follow J.R. Watkins on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.