Starkist appeals decision on price-fixing suit to US Supreme Court

Starkist has followed through on its pledge to appeal a decision made in the class-action civil lawsuit filed against it for its role in fixing the prices of canned tuna sold in the United States between 2011 and 2013.

On Monday, 8 August, 2022, 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 argues in its petition too many of its customers certified by Sammartino were not harmed by the price-fixing. Specifically, the company claimed many of the so-called “direct purchaser class” of plaintiffs were not impacted negatively by the price-fixing.

StarKist’s a certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court challenges the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ class certification affirming the creation of the direct-purchaser class (DPP), the indirect-purchaser class (CFP), and end-payer plaintiffs (EPP).

“StarKist has willingly and proactively settled cases with customers in situations in which there was a reasonable basis for arguing the customer was harmed,” Starkist Senior Vice President General Counsil Scott Meece said in a statement. “On the other hand, StarKist will not settle cases, in these matters or others, if the claims are excessive or in which the complaining party was not harmed. We will continue to defend those cases, and while defense is costly, it is the right thing to do.”

On 25 July, Starkist had its request denied to exclude its private-label sales from a lawsuit filed by customers alleging price-fixing by U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of California Dana Sabrow.

In September 2019, Starkist was ordered to pay USD 100 million (EUR 90.3 million at that time) after it pleaded guilty to one criminal charge of price-fixing. Starkist is facing the class-action suit collectively with Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea.

Photo courtesy of Starkist


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