A lawsuit has reportedly been filed against several grocery chains claiming that they gouged the price of eggs for California consumers as part of a scheme during the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, which was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, contends that retailers such as Costco, Walmart, Kroger, Amazon’s Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s tripled the price of eggs as consumers were stocking up on essentials because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to court documents obtained by Bloomberg Law.

The lawsuit also reportedly names, Raley’s Stater Bros. Holdings, Save Mart, Albertson’s, Winco Holdings, and 15 Midwestern farms, including Cal-Maine Foods, Opal Foods, Rose Acre Farms, and Post Holdings, a subsidiary of Michael Foods.

In the class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that grocery retailers took advantage of the opportunity presented by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration on March 4 because of the coronavirus pandemic to increase the price of eggs, which is considered an essential grocery item, the news outlet said.

The court documents filed by a group of consumers in the case read, “As in any time of economic turmoil, there are those who seek to profit from the misery of millions. Defendants, who are producers, wholesalers, and retailers of eggs, comprise one such set of actors.”

The case names several grocery chains and farms but acknowledges that some may not have participated in the scheme, saying that it is “impossible for consumers such as plaintiffs to obtain information concerning the secretive process of price setting.”

“Rather, plaintiffs assert that, at a minimum, some of these defendants did so,” the court documents said.

Plaintiffs in the case are reportedly seeking class-action certification, an injunction, and restitution. The class certification is looking to cover all consumers who purchased eggs in California from any of the named defendants since March 4, according to Bloomberg Law.

Officials hope reducing the number of eggs will cut chicken supplies and boost market prices Officials hope reducing the number of eggs will cut chicken supplies and boost market prices Photo: AFP / TENGKU Bahar