StarKist Co. agreed to settle on a class action lawsuit claiming that the company had sold underweight tuna cans for more than five years. StarKist would now compensate any buyer of some of varieties of its tuna cans with $25 or $50 worth of tuna, at consumer’s choice.
According to the lawsuit, the tuna can producer failed to fully fill four varieties of its canned tuna products and violated both federal and state laws. Anyone who bought tuna cans from the company may be able to receive compensation due to the settlement.
Under the federal law, 5-ounce cans of tuna need to be filled with at least 2.84 ounces of fish and a maximum 3.23 ounces. StarKist failed to comply with these requirements by 0.03 to 0.12 ounces, court papers show. Although the producer says it did nothing wrong, it agreed to reach a settlement to dodge further losses if the lawsuit continues.
The plaintiff Patrick Hendricks, who filed a complaint in 2013, said he performed a separate investigation and found that the tuna cans were actually under-filled. He also told court that he would have never brought the cans if he had learned that the cans aren’t properly filled.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Hendricks and a group of customers who said they also bought the tuna cans. But because the lawsuit is a class action suit any other consumer harmed by the company’s practices is entitled to full compensation.
According to the settlement reached in Northern California, StarKist must now pay $8 million in cash and $4 million worth of food vouchers that can be redeemed for StarKist products.
Bursor & Fisher, the law firm who represented plaintiffs, would receive $4 million.
So, if you are a U.S. resident and you recall buying the company’s products from Feb. 19, 2009 through Oct. 31, 2014 you are eligible for full compensation. Only 5-ounce cans of the Chunk Light and Solid White products, regardless whether they were in water or oil, gives you the entitlement to compensation. Be wary that the 5 oz Chunk White in Water was not reported as having filling issues.
Each customer is entitled to either a $25 cash payment or $50 in food vouchers that can be turned into StarKist canned tuna. On the other hand, these figures may be lower depending on the number of claims the company receives.
The good news is that you won’t need the receipt to prove you bought the cans. It is enough to state that and be aware that you could face perjury charges if your claims prove false.
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