US Supreme Court declines to hear Starkist’s price-fixing lawsuit appeal

The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down a request by Starkist challenging the class certification in a civil lawsuit brought against it in response to its involvement in a price-fixing arrangement with Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea from 2011 to 2013.

In August, Starkist filed a petition at the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to strike down a decision made by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., which ruled in a 9-2 decision in April 2022 to uphold the class certification completed in 2019 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Judge Janis L. Sammartino.

Reston, Virginia, U.S.A.-based Starkist, which is owned by South Korean congolomerate Dongwon Industries, argued 28 percent of those qualifying for categorization in the “direct purchaser class” of plaintiffs in the case had not been negatively impacted by the price-fixing.

Starkist was backed in its appeal by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"There are too many judges who, despite this court's instructions, continue to put a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of class certification,” the nonprofit trade group, which represents U.S. business interests, said in a press release.

If the Supreme Court had heard the case and decided in favor of Starkist, the result would have likely made it harder for consumers and other plaintiffs to receive class-action status in the future, according to Reuters.

Photo courtesy of Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock


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