Chicken of the Sea settles with CVS in price-fixing lawsuit

Published on
May 24, 2019

San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based Chicken of the Sea International, a division of Thai Union, on Tuesday, 21 May announced it had resolved a civil complaint from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, U.S.A.-based CVS to settle antitrust claims made as part of the price-fixing scandal that has rocked the canned tuna sector.

CVS operates more than 9,500 pharmacy-centered stores in the United States, and its parent company, CVS Health, is ranked the seventh-largest U.S. corporation in the Fortune 500.

Terms of the settlement were not announced. The deal was approved by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Judge Janis L. Sammartino.

"We have worked with CVS to find a solution that is pragmatic and that makes sense as we move forward to find the rightr response for our consumers. It's another very important settlement as we move towards putting this behind us," Chicken of the Sea International Vice President and General Counsel Christianna Reed told SeafoodSource.

Reed said her company is getting nearer to closing out all outstanding litigation related to the price-fixing issue.

"We're making significant progress toward completion," she said. "We're glad to be moving forward with the vast majority of plaintiffs [with cases outstanding] and we continue to work to bring this to an appropriate conclusion."

In a January 2019 press release announcing a settlement with 29 other retailers, Reed criticized companies who have refused to negotiate a deal with Chicken of the Sea.

"We are also hopeful [this settlement] will encourage any remaining litigants to put posturing aside and work with us to find pragmatic solutions that reflect the industry's challenging market realities,” Reed said. “It is also an unfortunate reality that litigants who continue to pursue aggressive, unrealistic negotiation tactics are putting an iconic American seafood brand and American jobs at risk."

In its second-quarter 2019 financial report, Thai Union estimated the total cost to the company to settle all of its civil cases related to price-fixing issues would be THB 1.359 billion (USD 42.6 million, EUR 36.9 million), which it charged to its second-quarter results.

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