Peanut butter has been a staple of the American diet for well over 100 years, but it is rarely newsworthy. That changed recently after J.M. Smucker Co. (“Smucker”) pulled some of its famous Jif-brand peanut butter products from shelves across the country.
In mid-May, Smucker recalled several varieties of Jif peanut butter as a result of potential salmonella contamination after customers reported illnesses in several states. Shortly after the recall, on May 25, South Carolina resident, John Kraljevich filed a putative class action lawsuit in Kentucky, Kraljevich v. The J.M. Smucker Company, No. 5:22-cv-00134-GFVT (E.D. Ky. filed May 25, 2022). Although plaintiff Kraljevich does not allege that he contracted salmonella or was ever sick after consuming Jif peanut butter, he alleges that he would not have purchased these products if he had known about the contamination and as a result, he and other purchasers suffered economic loss. Plaintiff Kraljevich asserts claims for breach of warranty, negligence, strict liability, fraud, unjust enrichment, and punitive damages on behalf of himself as well as nationwide and South Carolina classes of purchasers of the recalled products.