Orange County Federal Judges Upheld on Thailand Slave Labor Cases

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today affirmed two Orange County federal judges’ dismissal of lawsuits against Mars, Inc. and Nestlé USA, Inc. for not informing American customers that their seafood products originating from Thailand “may be the result of forced labor” and tied to “human trafficking.”

Plaintiffs in the cases claimed the companies had a duty to disclose warnings on their product labels and by failing to do so violated California’s consumer protection laws, including false advertising.

But the appellate panel agreed with the decisions of U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter and Cormac J. Carney, his colleague inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, to dismiss the actions for failure to make adequate claims. 

Mars, the famous candy maker, and Nestlé, the equally famous coffee/drink distributor, were “under no duty to disclose” the slave labor claim, even though it’s been recognized as valid by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the United States Department of Labor, according to the ruling by judges A. Wallace Tashima, Marsha S. Berzon and William A. Fletcher.

The parties provided the Ninth Circuit panel with oral arguments on the dispute in December.

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