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Starkist tuna can. (Photo: Stock File)

StarKist accepts to pay USD 12 million in class action settlement

  (UNITED STATES, 5/21/2015)

StarKist Co. has agreed to pay USD 12 million in a class action settlement over allegations presented in 2013 for breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, fraud and violations of California consumer protection laws.

Starkist would pay USD 8 million cash and USD 4 million in vouchers available to "tens of millions" of consumers who bought the 5 ounce cans of tuna from the company.

Federal law requires the cans to contain an average of 2.84 to 3.23 ounces of tuna. However, cans of StarKist tuna allegedly only contain an average of 2.81 to 3.11 ounces of tuna, which means the firm has underfilled cans of tuna.

Meanwhile, the company pointed out that it had petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to amend the regulation, seeking permission to use a “drained weight fill standard” as opposed to the FDA’s “pressed cake standard.”

Plaintiffs informed that under the terms of the proposed class action settlement, Class Members who submit valid claims would be eligible to receive up to USD 25 in cash or USD 50 in product vouchers.

Tens of millions of consumers could be eligible for benefits from the class action settlement.

“This is an excellent result for class members compared to their likely recovery should they prevail at trial,” the plaintiffs argue in their motion for preliminary approval of their plan of allocation for the StarKist tuna class action settlement.

The plaintiffs indicate that the firm intended to have a sliding scale process based on the number of cans of StarKist tuna each Class Member purchased. However, the plaintiffs rejected this proposal during negotiations because it would be overly complex and “because we deemed it unreasonable to ask Class members to recall and report on a claim form the number of cans they had purchased over a 5 ½-year period.”

Besides, consumers do not usually retain grocery receipts for that length of time, so the plaintiffs argued against requiring proof of purchase during the claim filing process. Instead, claimants would be required to sign an affidavit under the penalty of perjury.

Federal court sources informed that a hearing has been scheduled for 28 May.
 


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