NORTHLAKE, Ill. -- Officials of Dominick's Finer Foods, here, and Perdue Farms, Salibury, Md. say they have not yet seen a copy of a lawsuit charging them with deliberately overstating the weights of Perdue chickens sold by the chain and consequently, "knowingly" overcharging their customers.
Officials at Dominick's declined to comment, citing the lack of information.
Perdue spokesperson Richard Auletta expressed his regret that Perdue was not notified by the plaintiff, Angela Kreider of Chicago, when she registered her initial complaint with Dominick's. "We pride ourselves on our response to our customers," he said. "And we have no record of this woman contacting our company."
Kreider contacted Dominick's by letter last August, after she purchased a Perdue chicken whose label stated a weight of 7.09 pounds. According to the complaint, when she got the bird home, a suspicious Kreider took the bird to another store to have it checked and found its weight totaled less than three pounds.
When she received no response from Dominick's, she again contacted the company in October, having by this time purchased two more Perdue chickens, also mislabeled with heavier weights and higher prices, according to court papers.
This time Dominick's responded with an apology and store gift certificates in the amount of $15.
Not satisfied with the store coupons, Kreider filed suit against Dominick's and Perdue claiming the companies "through retail distributors, [have] defrauded consumers by selling chickens that are incorrectly labeled in that the chickens are significantly under the weight stated on their labels."
According to Kreider's attorney, Clinton A. Krislov, of Krislov & Associates in Chicago, the claim names Perdue because they actually packaged and labeled the chickens and Dominick's for neglecting to verify the weight and cost listed.
Perdue's Auletta said he is not aware of any similar complaints that might lend blame to faulty machinery, but stressed the poultry is weighed by an automated system which is constantly monitored for accuracy.
"It's unfortunate that this should happen," Auletta continued. "Had we been made aware of the discrepancy, we certainly would have addressed the situation."
Attorneys have requested the suit be filed as a class action on behalf of consumers who have purchased or may in the future purchase prepackaged uncooked chicken from Dominick's and/or chicken processed or packaged by Perdue.