In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation Website
Frequently Asked Questions
Hillandale and NuCal Settlements
- What is this lawsuit about?
- Who is included in the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements?
- Why are there Settlements with NuCal and the Hillandale/Gettysburg Defendants and what do they provide?
- When will the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement Funds be distributed?
- What is the effect of the Court’s final approval of the NuCal and/or Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements?
- Who represents the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement Classes?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements?
- How do I object to the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements?
- How do I exclude myself from the Settlements?
- What happens if I do nothing?
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 purchasers of Shell Eggs and Egg Products 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 NuCal Foods, Inc. (“NuCal”), Hillandale Farms of Pa., Inc.(“Hillandale Pa.”), and Hillandale-Gettysburg, L.P. (“Hillandale-Gettysburg”) (collectively the “NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements”), and the other Defendants deny all of Plaintiffs’ allegations.
For more information, please consult the Notice.
NuCal and the Hillandale/Gettysburg Defendants entered into separate Settlement Agreements with Plaintiffs, but both agreements include the same Class definition. For purposes of these Agreements, the Settlement Class is defined as follows:
All persons and entities that purchased Shell Eggs and Egg Products in the United States directly from any Producer, including any Defendant, during the Class Period from January 1, 2000 through December 19, 2014.
Excluded from the Settlement Class are:
- NuCal, Hillandale Pa., and Hillandale-Gettysburg, the Defendants that remain in the case, prior Settling Defendants (Moark Defendants, Sparboe, Cal-Maine, NFC, Midwest, UEP, and USEM), and their respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliates;
- Egg Producers, defined as any person or entity that owns, contracts for the use of, leases, or otherwise controls hens for the purpose of producing eggs for sale, and the parents, subsidiaries, and affiliated companies of such Producers;
- 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.
- Purchases of “specialty” Shell Eggs (certified organic, nutritionally enhanced, cage-free, free-range, and vegetarian-fed types), purchases of Egg Products produced from specialty Shell Eggs, and purchases of “hatching” Shell Eggs (used by poultry breeders to produce breeder stock or growing stock for laying hens or meat), and any person or entity that purchased exclusively specialty or hatching eggs.
Persons or entities that fall within the definition of the Settlement Class and do not exclude themselves will be bound by the terms of the Settlement Agreements.
The NuCal Settlement. Plaintiffs and Defendant NuCal Foods, Inc. (“NuCal”) began substantive settlement discussions in January 2014. Those discussions continued on an intermittent basis through April 2014, when NuCal shared its unaudited financial statements with Plaintiffs. After extensive arm’s-length negotiations, in May 2014 NuCal and Plaintiffs reached a settlement agreement in principle providing $1,425,000 to a fund to compensate Class Members. The parties executed a formal settlement agreement on August 1, 2014. The settlement amount was based primarily on NuCal’s financial condition and its sales data. Under the settlement, NuCal also will provide information concerning NuCal’s knowledge of the facts relating to documents, witnesses, meetings, communications, conduct and events at issue in the Action, and as many as two witnesses to testify at trial. It is the opinion of Plaintiffs’ attorneys that these nonmonetary benefits will materially assist Plaintiffs in further analyzing and prosecuting this Action against the remaining Defendants. Pursuant to the terms of the NuCal Settlement, Plaintiffs will release NuCal from all pending claims.
The Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement. Plaintiffs and Defendants Hillandale Farms of Pa., Inc. (“Hillandale Pa.”), and Hillandale-Gettysburg, L.P. (“Hillandale-Gettysburg”) (collectively the “Hillandale/Gettysburg Defendants”) began substantive settlement discussions in the summer of 2014. After approximately four months of extensive arm’s-length negotiations, in September 2014 Plaintiffs and the Hillandale/Gettysburg Defendants reached an agreement in principle providing $3,000,000 to a fund to compensate Class Members. The broad terms of the settlement were memorialized in a binding term sheet on September 19, 2014. The parties executed a formal settlement agreement on October 22, 2014. Under the settlement, the Hillandale/Gettysburg Defendants will assist Plaintiffs in prosecuting this Action against the remaining Defendants by authenticating documents. Pursuant to the terms ofthe Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement, Plaintiffs will release Hillandale Pa. and Hillandale-Gettysburg, as well as Hillandale Farms East, Inc., and Hillandale Farms, Inc., from all pending claims.
At an appropriate time, possibly in conjunction with future settlements, Plaintiffs’ Counsel may propose, subject to the Court’s approval, a plan to allocate and distribute the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement Funds, net of the costs of notifying the settlement class and administering the settlement, and any attorneys' fees, incentive awards and/or expense reimbursement awarded by the Court, among Settlement Class Members. It is common in cases like this one for the proceeds of settlements to be distributed on a pro rata basis among the members of the Class who timely and properly submit a valid Claim Form. This was the approach proposed for distribution of the Cal-Maine Settlement Fund, as described in the Notice dated February 28, 2014. As part of the Court’s laterconsideration of any proposed plan of allocation and distribution, Settlement Class Members will have an opportunity to comment on and/or object to the proposed plan.
The NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements are binding upon you and all other members of the Settlement Class. By remaining a part of the NuCal and/or Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements, you gave up any claims against NuCal, and/or Hillandale Pa., Hillandale-Gettysburg, Hillandale Farms East, Inc., and Hillandale Farms, Inc., relating to the claims made or which could have been made in this lawsuit. By remaining a part of the Settlements, you retain all claims against all other Defendants, named and unnamed.
The NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement Classes are 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
560 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022-6828
These attorneys and their respective firms are referred to as Class Counsel. The Court has ordered that Class Counsel will be paid $1,694,796.24 collectively from the NuCal and Hillandale Settlement Funds. Class Counsel filed their motion on April 7, 2015 and the Court granted the requested payments in an Order on July 5, 2016. The Motion for Reimbursement of Expenses and Court Order are available on this website under the "Court Documents" tab.
The Court considered both the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements and the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs' Motion for Reimbursement of Expenses relating to the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. This hearing serves as the Fairness Hearing on the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements. The Court's previously-scheduled Fairness Hearing for Monday, June 22, 2015 was accordingly cancelled.
The purpose of the Fairness Hearing was to determine whether the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlements are fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether the Court should enter judgment granting final approval of these Settlements. You did not need to attend this hearing. You or your own lawyer could have attended the hearing if you wished, at your own expense. Class Members are advised to check this website for any updates.
The deadline to object to the NuCal Settlement and/or the Hillandale Settlement (including the Motion for Reimbursement of Expenses) was May 22, 2015. Additional details are available in the Notice.
The deadline to request exclusion from the NuCal Settlement and/or the Hillandale Settlement was May 22, 2015. Additional details are available in the Notice.
If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the NuCal and Hillandale/Gettysburg Settlement Classes. As a member of these Settlement Classes, you will be represented by the law firms listed above in Question 6 and you will not be charged a fee for the services of such counsel and any other class counsel. Rather, counsel will be paid, if at all, as allowed by the Court from some portion of whatever money they may ultimately recover for you and other members of the Settlement Class. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.