Target Corp. Sued Over 'Flushable' Wipes

Target Corp. Sued Over 'Flushable' Wipes Photo: Target.

An Ohio father has accused Target Corp. of fouling up his home’s septic system and contributing to a growing and costly national problem by falsely claiming one of its brands of baby wipes are “flushable.”

Christopher Meta is the lead plaintiff in Meta v. Target Corporation, a proposed class action filed April 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Read the complaint here.

Meta said he bought Target’s “up & up” baby wipes last summer when he was potty training his daughter, and that he chose the product because it was labeled “flushable,” “dispersible,” and “sewer and septic safe.” The label on the pre-moistened fabric wipes said they would “break apart after flushing.” Meta contends in his complaint that none of those claims are true.

The plumbing and septic system for Meta’s Columbiana, Ohio home became clogged with the up-and-up wipes that had “caked together,” causing a serious backup, according to the complaint. Municipalities across the country are encountering similar problems from purportedly flushable wipes, the lawsuit said.

“These wipes have not only been clogging consumer’s pipes all over Ohio and the country, but have also created a public health hazard by clogging pumps at municipal waste treatment facilities,” the complaint states.

The complaint says Minneapolis-based Target actively concealed the truth about the “defective” wipes, and is liable for warranty breaches, negligent failure to warn and unjust enrichment claims, and violations of an Ohio consumer protection law. The plaintiffs want Target to be enjoined from advertising and labeling its products as flushable, and to pay restitution and unspecified damages.

Stuart Scott and Daniel Frech of Cleveland’s Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP represent the plaintiff.

Lisa Hoffman contributes to law.com.

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