Law360 (October 11, 2018, 7:49 PM EDT) — Airline amenities provider Linstol USA LLC sued a hand sanitizer maker Thursday in Florida federal court for allegedly failing to tell Linstol of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban on the product, which Linstol says cost the company its contract with United Airlines.
In a suit filed in the Middle District of Florida, Naples-based Linstol said Midway Advanced Products LLC delayed telling Linstol of an FDA import alert banning Midway’s b4 hand sanitizer, forcing Linstol to scramble to remove the sanitizer from more than 1 million already assembled amenity kits.
United Airlines then rejected Linstol’s bid for an additional three-year contract to supply packets for its customers beginning in January 2019, according to the complaint.
“Had Midway informed Linstol of the problem, Linstol would have been able to intercept shipments before entry into the United States, and before the banned b4 hand sanitizer was incorporated into the United Airlines amenity kits, eliminating the need for unpacking and repacking and destruction,” Linstol said in the suit.
Linstol said it has ordered hand sanitizers from Midway since 2015 for the amenity kits it prepared for United to hand out to passengers.
Midway fulfilled these orders from Linstol with hand sanitizer made for it by Ming Fai Industrial (Shenzen) Co. Ltd. in China, according to the complaint. After they are made in Shenzen, they are shipped to Linstol’s contracted packing facility in Ningbo, China, where the amenity kits are prepared for shipment to the U.S.
But an FDA inspection in August 2017 led the agency to issue an alert in December banning the importation of the b4 hand sanitizer, according to the complaint.
Linstol said Midway did not relay this information and did not interrupt shipments of hand sanitizer that were already en route to Linstol’s facility. Midway didn’t inform Linstol of the alert until Feb. 28, forcing the company to scramble and remove 1,116,800 United Airlines amenity kits from their sealed cartons, remove and replace their outer plastic bags, unpack and remove the sanitizers and repack the kits in cartons on an accelerated schedule, according to the suit.
Linstol is requesting an unspecified amount of damages, but says it has incurred costs from the loss of the United contract and from extra labor it had to spend quickly removing the tainted sanitizers from the packets. Linstol said it also incurred costs when it had to deliver all of the banned products to approved facilities for monitored destruction.
A Midway representative could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Linstol is represented by Allen M. Levine of Becker & Poliakoff PA.
Counsel information for Midway was unavailable.
The case is Linstol USA LLC v. Midway Advanced Products LLC, case number 2:18-cv-00669, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
–Editing by Aaron Pelc.