Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. WFM-Wo, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

July 17, 2017

HOLLY LYNN JONES, Individually, and HOLLY LYNN JONES, as Next Friend of ECJ, a Minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
WFM-WO, INC., D/B/A WHOLE FOODS MARKET, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court in this removed action is Defendant WFM-Wo, Inc. d/b/a Whole Foods Market's (“Whole Foods”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 5), to which Plaintiff Holly Lynn Jones on behalf of herself and her minor child ECJ have filed a response (Doc. No. 13) and Whole Foods has replied (Doc. No. 14). For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Factual Background

         The Complaint, originally filed in the Davidson County Circuit Court, alleges the following facts:

         On March 18, 2016, Jones went to the Whole Foods Market grocery store on Hillsboro Pike and purchased two slices of “Vegan Garden Pizza” for ECJ, her daughter. ECJ has a “severe nut allergy, including a severe allergy to pecans.” (Doc. No. 1-1 Comp. ¶ XI). After eating the pizza slices, ECJ “suffered a severe allergic reaction, resulting in serious and life-threatening injuries” that required hospitalization. (Id. ¶¶ XV, XVI).

         The pizza was located in Whole Foods' bakery department, where each pizza “was accompanied by specific label/signage identifying each variety of pizza by name and further specifying each variety of pizza's list of ingredients.” (Id. ¶ IX). Jones had purchased the Vegan Garden Pizza in the past for consumption off-site, “specifically relying upon the label/signage accompanying the same, which specified its contained ingredients - namely that it did not contain certain nuts and/or ingredients derived from nut products.” (Id. ¶ XII).

         After ECJ suffered the allergic reaction, Jones contacted the “manager of the prepared food department, ” who stated that the “Vegan Garden Pizza” had been improperly labeled on the day in question and that it “did, in fact, contain nuts and/or ingredients derived from nuts.” (Id. ¶ XVI). The manager also stated that this occurred because an employee used a taco sauce from the burrito bar that contained “crushed pecans, ” and that “no labels and/or signage were utilized in warning patrons that the ‘Vegan Garden Pizza' contained ‘crushed pecans, ' nuts and/or ingredients derived from nuts.” (Id.).

         Based upon the foregoing allegations, Jones filed suit alleging negligence, negligent supervision, product liability, misbranding of food for consumption, and breach of express warranty. Whole Foods moves to dismiss all claims.

         II. Standard of Review

         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court “construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept[s] its allegations as true, and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007); Inge v. Rock Fin. Corp., 281 F.3d 613, 619 (6th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff need only provide “a short and plain statement of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, ” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957), and the Court must determine only whether “the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims, ” not whether the plaintiff can ultimately prove the facts alleged. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511 (2002) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 (1974)). Nevertheless, the allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), and must contain “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). In short, “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         III. Application of Law

         Whole Foods moves to dismiss based upon the following arguments:

1. The vegan pizza was not in a defective or unreasonably dangerous condition as is required to state a products liability claim under Tennessee law because nuts such as pecans are a common, well-known, and essential ingredient in vegan foods;
2. Whole Foods was not required to warn of the presence of pecans in the vegan pizza under the applicable federal law, which expressly preempts any state law to the contrary, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.