BOISE, Idaho, July 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Purchasers of fresh potatoes may be entitled to money from a settlement in a class-action lawsuit pending in federal court in Idaho, Hausfeld LLP announced. The settlement provides a cash payment of $19.5 million and a portion of that amount will be distributed to those who purchased potatoes directly from defendants and certain other producers and sellers of potatoes between June 18, 2006 and June 17, 2015 and who file claim forms before October 16, 2015. Several thousand potato buyers received notices and claim forms in the mail this week, alerting them to the settlement.
A website, www.PotatoesAntitrustSettlement.com, provides information about the case and the Settlement, and includes case-related documents, and claim forms that can be submitted online or by mail. Class members can also call a toll-free hotline to get information at 866-985-7589. The amount each class member will receive will depend on the number of claims made.
The case, titled In re Fresh and Process Potatoes Antitrust Litigation, was filed in 2010. The plaintiffs allege that defendants, who include various farms, marketing groups and cooperatives conspired among themselves and others to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the prices at which potatoes were sold in the United States by controlling and restricting the supply of potatoes. Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants implemented this price-fixing and supply-management conspiracy by agreeing to take several coordinated actions including, among other methods: 1) agreeing to limit the number of acres planted to potatoes; 2) agreeing to destroy existing Fresh Potato stocks or divert Fresh Potatoes into processing; 3) and agreeing to limit the flow of Fresh Potatoes into the fresh market to stabilize or raise potato prices. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants' actions violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, a federal law that prohibits any agreement that unreasonably restrains competition. The defendants denied all of the charges throughout the litigation. The parties agreed to settle the action to avoid the cost and risk of trial and appeals that would likely follow a trial.
The Court held a hearing on June 11 to determine whether to grant preliminary approval to the settlement, and granted preliminary approval on June 17, 2015. Class members have until October 16, 2015 to make claims, object to the settlement or exclude themselves from it. Information regarding class members' rights and options, including a claim form that can be submitted online, can be found at www.PotatoesAntitrustSettlement.com.
SOURCE Hausfeld LLP