In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation Website
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the lawsuit about?
- Who is included in the Moark Settlement?
- What does the Moark Settlement provide?
- How will the Settlement Fund be distributed?
- How do I file a Claim Form?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- What is the effect of the Court's final approval of the Moark Settlement?
- Who represents the Moark Settlement Class?
- When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the Moark Settlement?
- How do I object?
- How do I exclude myself from the Moark Settlement?
- What happens if I did nothing?
- Where do I get additional information?
- How do I object to the Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of Costs?
In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, certain producers of Shell Eggs and Egg Products, conspired to decrease the supply of eggs. Plaintiffs allege that this supply conspiracy limited, fixed, raised, stabilized, or maintained the price of eggs, which caused direct purchasers to pay more for eggs than they would have otherwise paid. The term "eggs" refers to both Shell Eggs and Egg Products; Egg Products are eggs removed from their shells for further processing into a dried, frozen, or liquid form.
Plaintiffs represent both themselves (the named Plaintiffs) and the entire Class of direct egg purchasers across the United States. Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a class action because they believe, among other things, that a class action is superior to filing individual cases and that the claims of each member of the class present and share common questions of law and fact. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants' actions violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, a federal statute that prohibits any agreement that unreasonably restrains competition. Defendants Moark, LLC, Norco Ranch, Inc., and Land O'Lakes, Inc. (collectively, the "Moark Defendants") and the other Defendants deny all of Plaintiffs' allegations.
For more information, please consult the Notice.
Plaintiffs and the Moark Defendants have agreed that, for purposes of the Moark Settlement, the Settlement Class is defined as follows:
All persons and entities in the United States that purchased eggs, including Shell Eggs and Egg Products, produced from caged birds in the United States directly from any Producer during the Class Period from January 1, 2000 through July 15, 2010.
The Settlement Class consists of two subclasses. The first subclass, called the "Shell Egg Subclass," is made up of "[a]ll individuals and entities in the United States that purchased Shell Eggs produced from caged birds in the United States directly from any Producer during the Class Period from January 1, 2000 through July 15, 2010." The second subclass, called the "Egg Products Subclass," is comprised of "[a]ll individuals and entities in the United States that purchased Egg Products produced from Shell Eggs that came from caged birds in the United States directly from any Producer during the Class Period from January 1, 2000 through July 15, 2010." Excluded from the subclasses are the Defendants, their co-conspirators, and their respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliates, all government entities, as well as the Court and staff to whom this case is assigned, and any member of the Court's or staff's immediate family. Also excluded from the subclasses are individuals and entities that purchased only "specialty" Shell Eggs (certified organic, nutritionally enhanced, cage-free, free-range, and vegetarian-fed types) and "hatching" Shell Eggs (used by poultry breeders to produce breeder stock or growing stock for laying hens or meat). Also excluded from the subclasses are Producers and their respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliates.
Persons or entities that fall within the definition of the Settlement Class and did not exclude themselves will be bound by the results of this litigation.
After several months of extensive settlement discussions, Plaintiffs and the Moark Defendants reached a Settlement on May 21, 2010. The Moark Settlement is between Plaintiffs and the Moark Defendants only; it does not affect any of the remaining non-settling Defendants, against whom this case continues. Pursuant to the terms of the Moark Settlement, Plaintiffs will release the Moark Defendants from all pending claims. In exchange, the Moark Defendants have agreed to pay $25,000,000 to a fund to compensate Class members and to provide substantial and immediate cooperation with Plaintiffs, including producing documents and making witnesses available for interviews, which will provide important information in support of Plaintiffs' claims against the non-settling Defendants and possibly others who participated in the alleged conspiracy. (If Class members whose combined purchases account for 7.5% or more of total sales for egg producers in the U.S. chose to exclude themselves from the Settlement Agreement, the Moark Defendants have the right to terminate the Settlement.) It is the opinion of Plaintiffs' attorneys that the Moark Defendants' cooperation will provide significant benefits to members of the Settlement Class and will materially assist Plaintiffs in the prosecution of claims against the non-settling Defendants.
On July 15, 2010, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Moark Settlement, finding it sufficiently fair, reasonable, and adequate to warrant notifying the Settlement Class.
The Moark Settlement should not be taken as an admission by the Moark Defendants of any allegation by Plaintiffs or of wrongdoing of any kind. Finally, the Court ordered that Plaintiffs shall provide notice of the Moark Settlement to all members of the Settlement Class who can be identified through reasonable effort. The Court granted final approval to the Moark Settlement on July 16, 2012.
The $25 million paid by the Moark Defendants was reduced by court-ordered attorneys' fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses, including administration of the Settlement. The Settlement Fund was also reduced by the expense of providing notice to the Class. The remainder of the Moark Settlement was distributed on a pro rata basis among the members of the Class who timely and properly submitted a valid Claim Form. Checks mailed to eligible Class members on July 3, 2013.
The deadline to file a Claim Form was January 7, 2011.
Any Class member who did not complete and timely return the Claim Form will not be entitled to share in the Moark Settlement.
Interim Class Counsel, in compensation for their time and risk in prosecuting the litigation on a wholly contingent fee basis, applied to the Court on April 14, 2011, for an award of attorneys' fees in an amount of thirty percent of the $25 million Settlement Fund as well as reimbursement of litigation costs and expenses incurred. The Court approved Plaintiffs' Motion for Fees and Expenses on November 9, 2012.
The Court granted final approval to the Moark Settlement on July 16, 2012. The Moark Settlement is binding to all members of the Settlement Class. By remaining part of the Moark Settlement, you gave up any claims against the Moark Defendants relating to the claims made or which could have been made in this lawsuit.
The Settlement Class is represented by the following attorneys:
|Steven A. Asher|
WEINSTEIN KITCHENOFF & ASHER LLC
1845 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
Philadelphia, PA 19103
|Michael D. Hausfeld|
1700 K Street NW, Suite 650
Washington, DC 20006
Stanley D. Bernstein
BERNSTEIN LIEBHARD LLP
10 East 40th Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Stephen D. Susman
SUSMAN GODFREY LLP
654 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10065
The Court held a "Fairness Hearing" at 1:30 p.m. on February 28, 2011 at the following address:
United States District Court
James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1797
The purpose of the Fairness Hearing was to determine whether the Moark Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court granted final approval to the Moark Settlement on July 16, 2012.
The deadline to object to the Moark Settlement was November 16, 2010.
The deadline to object to the Moark Settlement was November 16, 2010.
If you did nothing, you remained a member of the Class. As a member of the Settlement Class, you are represented by the law firms listed above, and you will not be charged a fee for the services of such counsel and any other class counsel. You must have submitted a timely Claim Form in order to be considered for any monetary benefit from the Moark Settlement Fund.
For more detailed information concerning matters relating to the Moark Settlement, you may wish to review the "Settlement Agreement Between Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Defendants Moark, LLC, Norco Ranch, Inc., and Land O'Lakes, Inc." (signed May 21, 2010) and the "Order on Preliminary Approval of Settlement with Moark, LLC, Norco Ranch, Inc., and Land O'Lakes, Inc." (entered July 15, 2010). These documents are available on this website. These documents and other more detailed information concerning the matters discussed in the Notice may be obtained from the pleadings, orders, transcripts and other proceedings, and other documents filed in these actions, all of which may be inspected free of charge during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the Court. You may also obtain more information by calling the toll-free helpline at (866) 881-8306.
The deadline to object to the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs' Motion for an Award of Attorneys' Fees and for Reimbursement of Expenses was November 1, 2012.