Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did I receive a notice?
- What is this lawsuit about?
- Who are the Plaintiffs?
- Who are the Defendants?
- Other than purchases of Fresh Potatoes from Defendants, are purchases of Fresh Potatoes from other sellers covered by the Settlement?
- I did not purchase potatoes from Defendants', am I still eligible to receive money from this settlement?
- Why is this a class action?
- Why is there a settlement?
- Am I part of this settlement?
- How much money will be available from this settlement?
- Are there other benefits from the settlement?
- What is the status of the case?
- Did I give up anything by filing a claim or not filing a claim?
- What happens if I did nothing at all?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- Why did I receive a Deficiency Notice?
- Can I still provide documents to support my claim?
- What if I didn’t have the documentation requested in my Deficiency Notice?
- Where can I get more information?
1. Why did I receive a notice?
The legal notice is to inform you of the Settlement that has been reached in the class action lawsuit, IN RE FRESH AND PROCESS POTATOES ANTITRUST LITIGATION, Civil Case No. 4:10-md-02186 BLW pending in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, Eastern Division. You may have received a notice because you were identified as a potential customer of one or more of the Defendants in the lawsuit. View a copy of the Settlement Agreement.
2. What is this lawsuit about?
In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs allege that, beginning in 2004, Defendants and others engaged in a conspiracy to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the prices at which potatoes were sold in the United States by controlling and restricting the supply of potatoes. Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants and others implemented this price-fixing and supply-management conspiracy by agreeing to take several coordinated actions including, among other methods, 1) agreeing to limit the number of acres planted to potatoes; 2) agreeing to destroy existing Fresh Potato stocks or divert Fresh Potatoes into processing; 3) and agreeing to limit the flow of Fresh Potatoes into the fresh market to stabilize or raise potato prices. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants' actions violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, a federal law that prohibits any agreement that unreasonably restrains competition. Defendants have denied all of Plaintiffs' claims and have asserted other defenses.
3. Who are the Plaintiffs?
Plaintiffs represent both themselves (the named plaintiffs Brigiotta's Farmland Produce and Garden Center, Inc. and J.R. Mazzola, Inc.) and the two Classes of individuals or entities that purchased Fresh Potatoes grown in the United States directly from Defendants, certain producers, and certain packers and marketers in the United States. The classes are defined as:
Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Monetary Relief Class:
All persons and entities who, between June 18, 2006 June 17, 2015, directly purchased Fresh Potatoes grown in the United States, other than Specialty Potatoes, from: (1) any Defendant or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; (2) any member of the cooperative members of United Potato Growers of America, or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; any member of the United Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc., or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; and (3) any entity that packed or marketed fresh potatoes grown by any Defendant, by any member of United Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc., or by any member of the cooperative members of United Potato Growers of America, Inc.
Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Injunctive Relief Class:
All persons and entities who, between June 18, 2006 and June 17, 2015, directly purchased Fresh Potatoes grown in the United States, other than Specialty Potatoes, from: (1) any Defendant or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; (2) any member of the cooperative members of United Potato Growers of America, or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; any member of the United Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc., or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof; and (3) any entity that packed or marketed fresh potatoes grown by any Defendant, by any member of United Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc., or by any member of the cooperative members of United Potato Growers of America, Inc.
For a complete list of excluded entities, click here.
Fresh Potatoes are potatoes that are grown in the U.S. and sold for fresh consumption. Fresh Potatoes do not include potatoes that are sold for further processing (dehydrating, freezing, canning, chipping, slicing, chopping and packaging).
For purposes of the Settlement, Fresh Potatoes do not include Specialty Potatoes, defined as organic, fingerling, blue, long white, and purple potatoes.
4. Who are the Defendants?
Defendants are Albert T. Wada; Wada Farms, Inc.; Wada Family, LLC; Wada Farms Potatoes, Inc.; Wada Farms Marketing Group, LLC; Wada-Van Orden Potatoes, Inc., Pro Fresh LLC; Cedar Farms, LLC, Blaine Larsen Farms, Inc.; Cornelison Farms, Inc.; Michael Cranney d/b/a/ Cranney Farms; Driscoll Potatoes, Inc.; Idahoan Foods LLC; Kim Wahlen; KCW Farms, Inc.; Lance Funk d/b/a Lance Funk Farms; Pleasant Valley Potato, Inc.; Potandon Produce L.L.C.; Raybould Brothers Farms, LLC; Ronald D. Offutt Jr.; RD Offutt, Co.; Rigby Produce, Inc.; Snake River Plains Potatoes, Inc.; United Potato Growers of America, Inc.; United Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc.; and United II Potato Growers of Idaho, Inc., together with their past and present parents, subsidiaries and affiliates.
5. Other than purchases of Fresh Potatoes from Defendants, are purchases of Fresh Potatoes from other sellers covered by the Settlement?
Yes. The Settlement Classes defined above include purchases from:
- The members of the United Potato Growers of Idaho, identified in Exhibit D to the Settlement Agreement, as well as purchases from those who packed or marketed potatoes grown by those members;
- The members of the certain other potato membership organizations, identified in Exhibit B, Exhibit C and Exhibit E to the Settlement Agreement, as well as purchases from those who packed or marketed potatoes grown by those members.
6. I did not purchase potatoes from Defendants', am I still eligible to receive money from this settlement?
No, if you did not purchase fresh potatoes directly from defendants or any of the listed entities from Exhibits C, D and E; then you are not eligible to receive a distribution from the Direct Purchaser Settlement.
7. Why is this a class action?
Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a class action because they believe, among other things, that a class action is superior to filing individual cases in which each plaintiff's recovery would be too small to justify the costs of bringing an individual case, and that the claims of each member of the class present and share common questions of law and fact.
8. Why is there a settlement?
The Court has not decided which side was wrong or if any laws were violated. Instead, both sides agreed to settle the case and avoid the cost and risk of trial and appeals that would follow a trial. In this case, the settlement is the product of extensive negotiations. Settling this case allows class members to receive payments and other benefits now. The Class Plaintiffs and their lawyers believe the settlement is best for all class members.
9. Am I part of this settlement?
If a Notice was mailed to you, the Defendants' records show that you are probably a member of the Settlement Classes. If, after reading the information on this website, you are still not sure whether you are part of this settlement, you may contact the Class Administrator at:
Call the toll-free number: 1-866-985-7589
Potatoes Antitrust Case Claims Administrator
c/o KCC Class Action Services
P.O. Box 40007
College Station, TX 77842-4007
10. How much money will be available from this settlement?
The parties agreed to settle the case against all Defendants for $19,500,000.00. The money in this fund will be used to pay Settlement Class members that submitted timely and valid Claim Forms, and will also be used to pay the cost of settlement administration and notice, as approved by the Court, any attorneys' fees, not to exceed 40 percent of the settlement amount, and litigation expenses, that may be approved by the Court, and incentive awards for the two named plaintiffs of up to $25,000, if approved by the Court.
Plaintiff’s Counsel submitted a motion to the Court relating to the distribution of the Settlement Fund. After the Court has ruled on Plaintiff’s Motion, the settlement will be distributed on a pro rata basis among the members of the Class who timely and properly submitted a valid Claim Form. Your pro rata share of the Settlement Amount will be based on the dollar amount of your direct purchases of potatoes in the United States from Defendants and certain other entities compared to the total purchases of potatoes by all Class Members who submitted timely and valid Claim Forms. The Court retains the power to approve or reject, in part or in full, any individual claim of a Class Member based on equitable grounds.
11. Are there other benefits from the settlement?
Yes, In addition to monetary benefits, the Defendants have agreed to entry of a "Consent Order" by the Court. Since the Court approved the Consent Order, Defendants who are producers of potatoes and their cooperatives are prohibited from entering into any agreement setting the number of acres that any producer of potatoes will plant to Fresh Potatoes or otherwise setting the volume or amount of potatoes that any producer of Fresh Potatoes will plant or grow. Among other provisions, the consent order also requires that certain Defendants that are membership organizations representing potato producers ensure that their members agree to the consent order, and requires Defendants will work with antitrust compliance counsel to review policies and procedures to make sure they are complying with antitrust laws.
12. What is the status of the case?
We have completed the deficiency phase in this matter and will start the distribution phase after the court has ruled on Plaintiff’s Motion for Court Determination of the Settlement Fund Distribution to ACRS/Sysco Foods. We do not know when the court will provide a ruling but you should continue to visit this website for updated information.
13. Did I give up anything by filing a claim or not filing a claim?
If you did not exclude yourself, the Settlement is binding upon you and all other members of the Settlement Class because the Court granted final approval of the Settlement Agreement. By remaining part of the Settlement, you gave up any claims against Defendants and certain other entities, identified in exhibits B - E of the Settlement Agreement, relating to the claims made or which could have been made in this lawsuit, whether or not you filed a claim. If you filed a claim, you will receive monetary benefits from the settlement as detailed above.
If you did nothing at all, you are bound by the terms of the Settlement and you will not receive any money from the settlement. A Claim Form must have been received by the Claims Administrator postmarked on or before October 16, 2015 in order to receive monetary settlement benefits.
14. What happens if I did nothing at all?
If you did nothing at all, you are bound by the Settlement as detailed in the Settlement Agreement. If you did nothing at all, you will not receive any money from the settlement and you are bound by all of the terms of the Agreement. A Claim Form must have been received by the Claims Administrator postmarked on or before October 16, 2015 in order to receive monetary settlement benefits.
15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court has appointed the law firm listed below to represent you in this Settlement. This law firm is called Settlement Class Counsel. Many other lawyers have also worked with Class Counsel to represent you in this case. Because you are a class member, you do not have to pay any of these lawyers. They will be paid from the settlement funds.
James J. Pizzirusso
1700 K Street, N.W., Suite 650
Washington, D.C., 20006
If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
16. How will the lawyers be paid?
Settlement Class Counsel and other attorneys representing the plaintiffs in this case, in compensation for their time and risk in prosecuting the litigation on a wholly contingent fee basis, intend to apply to the Court for an award, from the Settlement Fund, of attorneys' fees in an amount not to exceed 40 percent of the cash settlement, as well as the costs and expenses incurred (the "Fee Petition"), including fees and costs expended to provide Notice to the Class and administer the Settlement Fund (including the plan of allocation) as well as requesting incentive awards for the named plaintiffs of no more than $25,000 as compensation for their efforts to represent the class.
17. Why did I receive a Deficiency Notice?
You received the Deficiency Notice because your file was incomplete. The letter you received informed you of your specific deficiency. Please review the letter carefully, complete the requested sections and return it to: Fresh Potatoes Direct Purchaser Settlement Administrator c/o KCC Class Action Services, Deficiency Response, P.O. Box 40007, College Station, TX 77842-4007.
18. Can I still provide documents to support my claim?
No, the deficiency phase in this matter is completed. The claims were denied for Claimants who did not respond to the deficiency letters and they will not receive a distribution in this matter.
19. What if I didn’t have the documentation requested in my Deficiency Notice?
To be eligible for this settlement, claimants were required to provide a summary of purchases that they could support with documentation. If you did not have the requested documentation, claims that you were not able to support with documentation were denied.
20. Where can I get more information?
For more detailed information concerning matters relating to the Settlement, you may wish to review the "SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN DIRECT PURCHASER PLAINTIFFS AND DEFENDANTS (signed April 10, 2015) on the Court Documents tab.
You may also want to review this website, which contains more information about and documents relating to the case, including court documents. These documents and other more detailed information concerning the matters discussed on this website 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, located at the address set forth in FAQ 14. You may also obtain more information by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-866-985-7589 or sending an email to: info@PotatoesAntitrustSettlement.com.