Tuna Direct Purchaser Case
In re: Packaged Seafood Products Antitrust Litigation
Case No. 3:15-md-02670

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You received a notice because your business may have purchased Packaged Tuna (canned or pouched tuna) directly from one or more of the Defendants from June 1, 2011 through July 31, 2015. You have the right to know about your rights or options in the proposed Settlement.

    The Court in charge of this case is the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (the “Court”). The case is called In Re: Packaged Seafood Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 15-MD-2670 DMS (MDD), MDL No. 2670.

    Certain Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs―the named Class Representatives: Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, Inc., Pacific Groservice Inc. d/b/a PITCO Foods, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co., Inc., Howard Samuels as Trustee in Bankruptcy for Central Grocers, Inc., Trepco Imports and Distribution Ltd., and Benjamin Foods LLC―sued on behalf of a proposed class. The companies they sued are called the Defendants and include Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union, Bumble Bee Foods LLC, StarKist Co., Dongwon Industries Co. Ltd., and Lion Capital (Americas), Inc.

    A proposed Settlement has been reached with Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union only (“Settling Defendants”). The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs will continue their lawsuit against StarKist Co., Dongwon Industries Co. Ltd., and Lion Capital (Americas), Inc. (“non-settling Defendants”). Bumble Bee Foods LLC is in bankruptcy. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

  • Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs allege that Defendants conspired to fix, raise, and maintain the prices that direct purchasers paid for Packaged Tuna and that, as a result, members of the Class paid more than they otherwise would have. Defendants have denied all liability for this conduct and/or assert that their conduct was lawful or exempt from the antitrust laws, or that their conduct did not cause injury, among other defenses. The Court has not decided who is right.

    The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs have reached a proposed Settlement with Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union. While these Settling Defendants deny all allegations, they have agreed to settle this action to avoid the uncertainties and risks of further litigation. The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ lawsuit is proceeding against non-settling Defendants.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more persons or businesses called class representatives sue on behalf of others who have similar claims, all of whom together are a “class.” Individual class members do not have to file a lawsuit to participate in the class action settlement or be bound by the judgment in the class action. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the class, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of either Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs or the Settling Defendants. Trials involve risks to both sides; therefore, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and the Settling Defendants have agreed to settle the case. The proposed Settlement requires Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union to pay money to members of the Settlement Class. Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the Settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class. The lawsuit is proceeding against the non-settling Defendants.

  • You are a Settlement Class Member if you or your company directly purchased Packaged Tuna Products (excluding tuna salad kits and cups and salvage purchases) within the United States, its territories and the District of Columbia from any Defendant at any time between June 1, 2011 and July 31, 2015. Packaged Tuna Products means shelf-stable tuna sold for human consumption and packaged in either cans or pouches. Excluded from the Settlement Class are all governmental entities; Defendants and any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; Defendants’ officers, directors, employees, and immediate families; and any federal judges or their staffs.

    While the proposed Settlement is only with Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union, the Settlement Class includes persons (including businesses and companies) who purchased Packaged Tuna from any of the Defendants. If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself, you will be eligible to participate in any monetary distributions to qualified Settlement Class Members and you will be bound by the results of the proposed Settlement.

  • If you are still not sure if you are included in the Settlement Class, please review the detailed case information available on this Settlement website. You may also call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-615-0970.

  • The Court has appointed Hausfeld LLP as Class Counsel. Their contact information is provided below. If you wish to remain a Settlement Class Member, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf.

    You may contact Class Counsel at:

    Hausfeld LLP
    600 Montgomery Street, Suite 3200
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    415-633-1908

    PackagedTuna@Hausfeld.com

    If you wish to pursue your own case separate from this one, or if you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, these lawyers will no longer represent you. You may need to hire your own lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against the Defendants.

  • You will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees or costs out-of-pocket. Under the Settlement, Attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses have been determined by an arbitrator in the amount of $4,410,636.71 in past out of pocket expenses and fees of $1,539,363.29, for a total of $5.95 million. This amount is subject to final approval by the Court and will be paid separately from the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel’s motion for approval of their fees and costs will be posted on the case website prior to the deadline for objections.

    Class Counsel is compensated on a contingent fee basis and any further compensation will only occur if there are further class settlements or a class-wide judgment against any non-settling Defendants.

  • If the proposed Settlement is approved, the Settling Defendants will pay a Settlement Amount calculated as 3.20% of the combined Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union sales of Packaged Tuna Products to Class Members between June 1, 2011 and July 31, 2015.

    When calculating the Settlement Amount, sales to individuals that opt out or exclude themselves from the Settlement Class will not be included.

    The Settling Defendants will also pay legal fees and costs in addition to and separate from the Settlement Amount as explained In FAQ 8.

  • Settlement Class Members who make a claim will be entitled to receive cash, with the actual amount received depending on the number of claims and the volume of commerce represented in those claims. Using an online portal, Settlement Class Members will be able to check their claim volume, and in the event that their own data suggests that a different claimed volume of commerce is appropriate, they can provide that information, and it will be considered by the Claims Administrator, subject to audit.

    Additionally, a portion of the Settlement Amount may be used by the Claims Administrator to administer notice and to administer the distribution of Settlement proceeds, as well as to pay Service Awards to the named Class Representatives for their work in the case. The Claims Administrator currently estimates its costs will be approximately $100,000.00. Class Counsel intend to ask the Court to approve Service Awards in the amount of $5,000.00 for each of the Class Representatives.

    To the extent there are any undistributed funds following an initial distribution to Settlement Class Members, the Claims Administrator, upon the recommendation of Class Counsel and approval by the Court, will either make subsequent distributions to Settlement Class Members, or, if it is infeasible to do so in light of the amount of undistributed funds and the costs of Administration, will distribute those funds to the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law.

  • Class Counsel does not intend to distribute any proceeds from the Settlement to qualifying Settlement Class Members at this time. Instead, they intend to combine any distribution of the Settlement proceeds with proceeds from future settlements or other recoveries in the litigation with non-settling Defendants. In the event that Class Counsel determine that distribution should proceed at an earlier time, they will seek approval of the Court before doing so.

    Please register on this case website for updates. This case website will be updated as circumstances change, so check back regularly.

  • If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class, and you can participate in any recoveries pursuant to the proposed Settlement with the Settling Defendants, if approved by the Court.

    Please register here for updates.

  • Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you are staying in the Settlement Class. By staying in the Settlement Class, you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Settling Defendants that makes claims based on the same legal issues alleged or could have been alleged in this case. All Court orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    The Released Claims are detailed in the Settlement Agreement, available on the Important Documents page.

  • Excluding yourself or opting out of the Settlement Class means you remove yourself from the Settlement and its benefits and releases. If you have a pending lawsuit against any of the Settling Defendants involving the same legal issues in this case, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.

  • To exclude yourself from the Settlement your Request for Exclusion must include: (a) the name (including any formerly known names, doing business as names, etc.), address and telephone number of the person(s) seeking exclusion; and (b) a signed statement that “I/we hereby request that I/we be excluded from the Proposed Settlement Direct Purchaser Class in the In re Packaged Seafood Products Antitrust Litigation.” You must mail your Request for Exclusion, postmarked by April 28, 2022, to:

    Tuna Direct Purchaser Case – EXCLUSIONS
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91241
    Seattle, WA 98111

  • If you stay in Settlement Class, you can object to the proposed Settlement if you don’t like part or all of it. The Court will consider your views.

    To object to the Settlement, you must send a written objection that includes:

    • Your Notice of Intention to Appear;
    • Proof of membership in the Settlement Class; and
    • The specific grounds for the objection and any reasons why you desire to appear and be heard, as well as all documents or writings that you desire the Court to consider.

     

    Your written objection must be filed with the Court and mailed to Class Counsel and the Settling Defendants’ counsel at the addresses below. Your objection must be postmarked (or mailed by overnight delivery) no later than April 28, 2022.

     

    To: The Court
    United States District Court Judge,
    The Honorable Dana M. Sabraw
    James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep United States Courthouse
    Courtroom 13A
    333 West Broadway
    San Diego, CA 92101

    To: Class Counsel
    Michael P. Lehmann
    Bonny E. Sweeney
    Christopher L. Lebsock
    Samantha J. Stein
    Hausfeld LLP
    600 Montgomery Street
    Suite 3200
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    415-633-1908
    PackagedTuna@Hausfeld.com

    To: Settling Defendant's Counsel
    John Roberti
    Allen & Overy LLP
    1101 New York Avenue, NW
    Washington DC 20005
    202-683-3862
    john.roberti@allenovery.com

    John Terzaken
    SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT LLP
    900 G Street, NW
    Washington DC 20001
    202-636-5858
    john.terzaken@stblaw.com

     

  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you have no standing to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.

  • The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on the Settlement at 1:30 p.m. PT on October 7, 2022 at the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep United States Courthouse, 333 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 in Courtroom 13A.

    At the hearing, the Court will consider (i) whether the proposed Settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate to Settlement Class Members, and whether the judgment should be entered dismissing the claims of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and all Settlement Class Members against Chicken of the Sea and Thai Union on the merits and with prejudice; and (ii) whether to approve any application by Class Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and payment of costs and expenses, and any Service Awards to the named Class Representatives.

    If there are objections, the Court will consider them. You may attend and ask to speak at the Fairness Hearing, if you filed an objection as instructed in FAQ 16, but you don’t have to. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long the Court will take to decide. The date of the hearing may change without further notice to the Settlement Class, so please register here or check the case website for updates.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection to the proposed Settlement, you do not have to come to the Fairness Hearing to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing or trial, but it’s not necessary.

  • Yes. If you did not request exclusion from the Settlement, you may ask permission for you or your own attorney to speak at the Fairness Hearing, at your own expense. To do so, you must submit a written objection as instructed in FAQ 16. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than April 28, 2022, and it must be sent to the Court, Class Counsel, and the Settling Defendants’ counsel at the addresses provided in FAQ 16. You cannot ask to speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

  • Please register for updates here. For more detailed information about the case, please review the case website, call 1-866-615-0970, or speak with Class Counsel directly at:

    Hausfeld LLP
    600 Montgomery Street, Suite 3200
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    415-633-1908
    PackagedTuna@Hausfeld.com

    If you have any questions about the Notice, please do not hesitate to call 1-866-615-0970 or email Class Counsel directly at PackagedTuna@Hausfeld.com

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE SETTLING DEFENDANTS, OR COUNSEL FOR THE SETTLING DEFENDANTS FOR INFORMATION OR ADVICE REGARDING THIS CASE.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail
Tuna Direct Purchaser Case
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91241
Seattle, WA 98111