Lawsuit Alleging Walmart Overcharges for Meat Products Survives Dismissal

The Southern District of Florida denied a motion to dismiss in a case against Walmart, Inc. The plaintiff, Vassilios Kukorinis, filed the lawsuit against Walmart claiming “unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable business practices” because they advertised false unit prices for goods nearing expiration according to the order.

“The gravamen of the complaint is that Walmart has, throughout the class period, consistently reduced the price of Weighted Goods nearing expiration but continually states incorrect unit prices on the labels of said Weighted Goods,” the order said, explaining that the plaintiff believes he and others have been overcharged.

Walmart allegedly places yellow sales labels on beef, poultry, and pork when they are nearing expiration, but the label on the yellow sales stickers do not reflect the total price for the item, only the weight, total price, and difference from the original price. The plaintiff claims he was overcharged on three specific instances, including one where he paid $16.45  for a spiral ham when the price should have been $7.43.

Kukorinis argued that he and other members of the class relied on the unit prices and were convinced by the stickers that they were receiving more product for the money they spent. Walmart argued the case should be dismissed because the plaintiff lacked standing as he did not stop purchasing the weighted goods and the sticker showed the price he paid.

“Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged what benefit Walmart received as a consequence of its alleged unfair and/or deceptive conduct,” the order states. “Plaintiff alleges that Walmart listed a unit price for Weighted Items placed on sale but charged more than the unit price at check out.  Regardless of whether the total price was listed on both the original and the sales labels, the fact remains that, as alleged, Walmart represented Weighted Goods as costing one price per unit but charged a different price.”

The court ruled that an “objectively reasonable purchaser could be deceived” by the prices, especially when comparing the products to other items. The judge said it is “inequitable” for Walmart to keep the extra sales from items with incorrect prices and denied the request to dismiss the complaint.

Vassilios Kukorinis is represented by Morgan & Morgan. Walmart is represented by Greenberg Traurig.