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October 18, 2015

United States/Thailand

California—Class Action Lawsuit Against Costco and CP Foods over Slavery and Human Trafficking in Farmed Shrimp Business


On August 19, 2015, Monica Sud, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit in the USA District Court in northern California against Costco Wholesale Corp.(the third largest retailer in the USA), Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL, and C.P. Food Products, Inc., citing violations of California Business and Professions Code and of the Civil Rights code.


Charoen Pokphand (CP), through many corporations and business, is one the world’s largest producers of farmed shrimp.


Sud alleges that Costco, in an effort to keep prices low for consumers, purchases its farmed shrimp from Southeast Asian producers, including those from Thailand, and then resells it at a low cost and higher profit.  She claims that the shrimp in CP’s supply chain depend on slavery, human trafficking and other illegal labor abuses.  She argues that the defendants are well aware of this unlawful use of labor, yet continue to purchase their farmed shrimp from said suppliers and mislead their customers by not fully disclosing their use of slave labor on the packaging, all the while campaigning for fairer labor treatment and civil rights.


Sud is demanding a jury by trial and is suing for restitution and injunctive relief, costs of suit and attorney fees and other rewards as deemed proper by the court.  She is represented by attorneys Niall P. McCarthy, Anne Marie Murphy, and Shauna R. Madison of the offices of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP in Burlingame, California, by Derek Howard of Howard Law Firm in Mill Valley, California, and by Daniel J. Mulligan from Jenks Mulligan and Gabriel LLP in San Diego, California.


Source:  Costco Faces a Lawsuit Over Allegations of Slave Labor Used for Farming Shrimp.  Hoang Tran.  October 16, 2015.

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