CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Thursday, July 16, 2020 UPDATE: The owners of Green Valley Poultry farm released a statement following a recent lawsuit filed against the company by West Virginia’s top attorney.
Dutt & Wagner of Virginia, Inc., the owner of the poultry farm, claimed it has not engaged in any form of price gouging and is ready to defend itself in court.
Contrary to the claims made by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Dutt & Wagner of Virginia, Inc., a family-owned food distributor, has not engaged in unfair or deceptive trade practices nor has it violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. Rather, Dutt & Wagner took extraordinary steps to ensure continued supply of high-quality eggs to its West Virginia customers in the face of an unprecedented increase in demand and costs caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Dutt & Wagner stands ready to defend itself from these unfounded accusations so that it may continue its long-standing relationships with its West Virginia customers.Dutt & Wagner of Virginia, Inc.
CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit against Green Valley Poultry Farms.
Morrisey claims the owner of Green Valley Poultry Farms, Dutt & Wagner of Virginia Inc., violated the state’s price gouging law by charging grocery stores higher prices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Attorney General alleges the wholesale price of Green Valley Farms eggs increased between 228 and 297 percent. This exceeds the cap of increasing prices by no more than 10 percent during a state of emergency preparedness.
The lawsuit also alleges Dutt & Wagner charged inflated prices to 34 grocery store chains and restaurant suppliers in Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Nicholas, Ohio, Raleigh, and Upshur counties. For example, according to the lawsuit, Dutt & Wagner increased the wholesale price of a dozen Green Valley Farms medium eggs from $0.79 on Feb. 24, 2020 to $2.35 on March 30, 2020. That is nearly 297.5 percent.
The civil complaint was filed Tuesday in Greenbrier County Circuit Court. It sets forth charges of unfair price practices and violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The Attorney General seeks a court order forcing Dutt & Wagner to pay restitution to consumers who paid above the authorized price and a civil penalty of $5,000 for each violation of the price gouging statute, along with an injunction that prohibits any similar conduct.
“No lawful excuse exists for such an increase,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Eggs are a staple for many households. We will always take steps to defend consumers from actions which violate our laws.”
Find the Dutt & Wagner civil complaint and a full list of grocery stores supplied by the defendant at https://bit.ly/2Cu0ag1.
To file a complaint, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808, or visit www.wvago.gov.