WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Shipman & Wright, LLP; Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling, LLP; and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP about the lawsuit Speaks v. U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc., No. 5:12-CV-729-D, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc. ("U.S. Tobacco"), formerly known as Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation, has reached a $24 million Settlement to resolve claims made by current and former U.S. Tobacco members over reserve funds. Tobacco growers across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama who were or are members of U.S. Tobacco, as well as their heirs or representatives, are eligible for a payment from the Settlement.
The Settlement stems from a lawsuit that claims U.S. Tobacco:
- accumulated funds over the years through members who may now claim portions of those funds, and
- no longer served its purpose once the Tobacco Price Support Program ended.
Although U.S. Tobacco denies these claims and that it is required to distribute any money, it has agreed to do so in this Settlement.
Individuals or businesses may be included if they are or were a shareholder or member of U.S. Tobacco from June 1, 1946, through the date the Settlement goes into effect, or an heir or legal representative. An heir in this case is a person who received (or inherited) a share of a former shareholder's stake or member's membership in U.S. Tobacco. A legal representative is a person who legally acts for or on behalf of the shareholder or member.
Eligible individuals or businesses can now submit a claim form online or by mail by May 26, 2018 to get a payment. The payment amount will be based on the total pounds of flue-cured tobacco that they marketed and sold and/or the total number of crop years they marketed and sold flue-cured tobacco, relative to all members who submit a claim. Claim forms are available at the website, www.FlueCuredTobaccoSettlement.com, or by calling 1-866-458-3207.
Also, there are two parallel lawsuits filed against U.S. Tobacco currently in the North Carolina Superior Court. These cases are known as Lewis v. Flue-Cured Tobacco Stabilization Corp., No. 05-CVS-188 and Fisher et al. v. Flue-Cured Tobacco Stabilization Corp., No. 05-CVS-1938. The Lewis/Fisher Lawsuits have been consolidated by the North Carolina Superior Court and certified as a class action. Affected individuals and businesses can submit a claim for this Settlement even if they are a class member in the Lewis/Fisher Lawsuit. This Settlement will not become effective, and claims will not be paid, until the class claims in the Lewis/Fisher Lawsuit are discontinued or dismissed.
Important Information and Dates:
- Eligible individuals or businesses must object to or exclude themselves from the Settlement by December 20, 2017.
- Eligible individuals or businesses must submit a claim form online or by mail by May 26, 2018.
- The Court will hold a hearing on January 19, 2018 to consider whether to approve the Settlement. Attorneys representing the Class will request up to $2 million to be paid out of the $24 million Settlement Fund to pay attorneys' fees and expenses and incentive payments to the individuals (i.e. class representatives) who brought the case and helped negotiate the Settlement. You and your own lawyer can appear and speak at the hearing, but you do not have to.
For more information:
- Visit: www.FlueCuredTobaccoSettlement.com
- Call: 1-866-458-3207
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SOURCE Shipman & Wright, LLP