Plaintiffs suing the Big Three tuna companies—Bumble Bee Foods, StarKist, and Chicken of the Sea—over alleged price fixing among the competitors have been granted class certification.
The judge’s decision is good news for the plaintiffs, as such certification generally means lower legal costs and an increase in the likelihood of seeing a financial reward.
The lawsuits allege that the three largest tuna companies conspired to keep the price of the staple of lunch boxes and pantries artificially high between at least November 2010 and December 2016.
Federal Judge Janis Sammartino last week approved three tracks for the suits to continue. One class is the “direct purchaser plaintiffs,” which includes warehouse and distribution companies like Olean Wholesale Grocery, Piggly Wiggly, and Benjamin Foods.
The second is the “commercial food preparer plaintiffs,” which includes eateries like Thyme Cafe & Market, A-1 Diner, and Groucho’s Deli of Five Points.
The third track is the “end payer plaintiff,” which represents individual consumers who bought tuna to eat. The class includes consumers in 30 states, Washington, DC, and Guam.
The 59-page order was filed July 30 in the US District Court for the Southern District of California.
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