Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did I get this Notice?
- What are these lawsuits about?
- What is a class action and who is involved?
- Am I part of this Class?
- What do the lawsuits complain about?
- How does Wild Planet answer?
- Has the Court decided who is right?
- What does the Proposed Settlement provide if I submit a claim?
- How do I submit a Claim Form?
- How do I get a Claim Form?
- What happens if I do nothing at all?
- Why would I ask to be excluded?
- How do I exclude myself from the Class?
- How do I tell the Court I don’t like the Proposed Settlement?
- What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?
- Can I appear or speak in these lawsuits and Proposed Settlement?
- How can I appear in these lawsuits?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- Should I get my own lawyer?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
- Do I have to come to the hearing?
- May I speak at the hearing?
- What is the effect of final Settlement approval?
- Are more details available?
1. Why did I get this Notice?
If you purchased one or more cans of Wild Planet or Sustainable Seas’ tuna (the “WP Products”) between November 5, 2011 and May 12, 2017, you have a right to know about a Proposed Settlement of two related class action lawsuits and your options.
The Court ordered that you be given this Notice because you have a right to know about a Proposed Settlement of two similar class action lawsuits, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will oversee the Settlement Benefits that the Settlement allows. You will be informed of the progress of the Settlement.
This Notice explains the lawsuits, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Court in charge of the cases is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the cases are known as Soto v. Wild Planet Foods, Inc., Case No. 15-CV-05082-BLF and Shihad v. Wild Planet Foods, Inc., Case No. 16-CV-01478 BLF. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs, and the company they sued, Wild Planet, is called the Defendant.
2. What are these lawsuits about?
This lawsuits claimed that Wild Planet shorted the amount of tuna in its cans, under-filling them in violation of state and federal law.
Wild Planet denies that it did anything wrong, and the Court has not made any ruling on the factual allegations in the lawsuits.
3. What is a class action and who is involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in these cases, Plaintiffs Ehder Soto and Heney Shihad) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The named plaintiffs who sued – and all the Class Members like them – are called the Plaintiffs. The company they sued (in this case, Wild Planet) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.
4. Am I part of this Class?
If you fit into the following description, you are a Class Member:
All residents of the United States of America who, from November 5, 2011 to May 12, 2017, purchased any can of branded tuna produced by, for, or on behalf Wild Planet, including cans sold under the “Wild Planet” brand and the “Sustainable Seas” brand.
5. What do the lawsuits complain about?
Wild Planet manufactures and sells tuna products throughout the United States, including the Wild Planet and Sustainable Seas products in this case Plaintiffs allege that Wild Planet shorted the amount of tuna in its cans, under-filling them in violation of state and federal law. You can read Plaintiffs’ Complaint by clicking here.
6. How does Wild Planet answer?
Wild Planet denies any wrongdoing and denies the Plaintiffs’ allegations.
7. Has the Court decided who is right?
Court hasn’t decided whether the Defendant or the Plaintiffs are correct. Instead, the parties agreed to a Proposed Settlement to avoid the expense and risks of continuing the lawsuits.
8. What does the Proposed Settlement provide if I submit a claim?
The Settlement provides that Wild Planet will pay $1.7 million in cash. You may submit a claim for a cash payment of $29. The claim amount may be subject to pro rata dilution if the total amount of claims exceeds the available settlement funds or the cost of notice and claims administration exceeds $350,000.
You do not need a receipt or other proof of purchase to submit a claim. You will, however, be required to submit a Claim Form confirming under penalty of perjury (i) the specific Wild Planet product(s) you purchased, and (ii) that the purchase or purchases were made within the Settlement Class Period.
9. How do I submit a Claim Form?
The claim filing deadline was August 25, 2017 and has now passed.
10. How do I get a Claim Form?
You can obtain the Claim Form in one of three ways:
- By Phone: Call toll-free, 1-844-454-3996.
- By Mail: Write to:
Soto v. Wild Planet Foods Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
- Online: You can download the Claim Form by clicking here . You can also submit a Claim Form online through this website by clicking here.
11. What happens if I do nothing at all?
By doing nothing, you are staying in the Class but will not receive any Settlement Benefits.
Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, you will not be able to separately sue, or continue to sue, Wild Planet – as part of any other lawsuit – for the same legal claims that are the subject of these lawsuits. You will also be legally bound by all of the Orders the Court issues and judgments the Court makes in this class action. You must exclude yourself to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Wild Planet about the subject matter of these lawsuits ever again.
12. Why would I ask to be excluded?
If you exclude yourself from the Class – which is sometimes called “opting-out” of the Class – you won’t get any Settlement Benefits from the Proposed Settlement. However, you may then be able to separately sue or continue to sue Wild Planet for the legal claims that are the subject of these lawsuits. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments in this Proposed Settlement.
If you bring your own lawsuit against Wild Planet after you exclude yourself, you will have to hire and pay your own lawyer for that lawsuit, and you will have to prove your claims. If you do exclude yourself so you can start or continue your own lawsuit against Wild Planet, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations.
13. How do I exclude myself from the Class?
The exclusion deadline was August 25, 2017 and has now passed.
14. How do I tell the Court I don’t like the Proposed Settlement?
The opt out deadline was August 25, 2017 and has now passed.
15. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?
Objecting is simply telling the Court you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
16. Can I appear or speak in these lawsuits and Proposed Settlement?
As long as you do not exclude yourself, you can (but do not have to) participate and speak for yourself in these lawsuits and Proposed Settlement. This is called making an appearance. You can also have your own lawyer speak for you, but you will have to pay for the lawyer yourself.
17. How can I appear in these lawsuits?
If you want yourself or your own lawyer (instead of Class Counsel) to participate or speak for you in these lawsuits, you must give the Court a paper that is titled a “Notice of Appearance.” The Notice of Appearance must contain the title of the case, a statement that you wish to appear at the Fairness Hearing, and the signature of you or your lawyer.
Your Notice of Appearance can also state that you or your lawyer would like to speak at the Court’s Fairness Hearing on the Proposed Settlement. If you submit an objection (see FAQ 14 above) and would like to speak about the objection at the Court’s Fairness Hearing, both your Notice of Appearance and your objection should be included in that information.
Your Notice of Appearance must be signed, mailed, and postmarked by August 25, 2017 to the Court at:
Clerk of the Court
United States District Court
Northern District of California
280 South 1st Street, Room 2112
San Jose, CA 95113
Copies of your objection must also be signed, mailed, and postmarked August 25, 2017 to the same two addresses appearing on in FAQ 14.
18. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The law firms of Bursor & Fisher, P.A., Nathan & Associates, APC, and Law Offices of Ross Cornell (collectively “Class Counsel”) represent you and the other Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers.
19. Should I get my own lawyer?
If you choose to remain in the Class, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel are working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you will be responsible for paying that lawyer. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
20. How will the lawyers be paid?
From the inception of the litigation in November 2015 to the present, Class Counsel have not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case or obtaining Settlement, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. When they ask the Court to approve the Settlement, Class Counsel will also make a motion to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees of up to one-third of the total $1.7 million value of the Settlement Fund. The Court may award less than that. In addition to those attorneys’ fees, Class Counsel will also seek reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses from the Settlement Fund. No matter what the Court decides with regard to the requested attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, Class Members will never have to pay anything toward the fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Class Counsel will seek final approval of the Settlement on behalf of all Class Members. You may hire your own lawyer to represent you in this case if you wish, but it will be at your own expense.
21. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at at 1:30 pm on September 14, 2017, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113, Courtroom 3, 5th Floor. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court will also consider Class Counsel’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Proposed Settlement, and whether to grant Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
22. Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel is working on your behalf and will answer any questions the Court may have, but, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.
23. May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must follow the steps listed in FAQ 16 and FAQ 17 above. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.
24. What is the effect of final Settlement approval?
If the Court grants final approval of the Settlement, all members of the Class will release and forever discharge any and all claims or causes of action that have been, might have been, are now, or could have been brought relating to the transactions, actions, conduct and events that are the subject of this action or Settlement, arising from or related to the underfilling of tuna in the WP Products, whether in law or equity, whether seeking damages or any other relief (including attorneys’ fees), of any kind or character, known or unknown, that are now recognized by law or that may be created or recognized in the future by statute, regulation, judicial decision, or in any other manner, based upon any federal or state statutory or common law, including, without limitation, claims sounding in tort, contract, and the consumer protection laws of the United States or of any state or other jurisdiction within the United States, as well as under the unfair or deceptive trade practices, trade regulation, consumer fraud, misrepresentation, and false advertising law of the United States or any state or other jurisdiction within the United States, including, but not limited to, any claims relating to the underfilling of tuna in the WP Products (the “Released Claims”). Excluded from the Released Claims are (a) any and all claims for personal injury, wrongful death, and/or emotional distress arising from personal injury, (b) any claims of any person or entity that purchased WP Products for purposes of resale or commercial food preparation and not for his/her/its own consumption (i.e., “Resellers”), and (c) any antitrust claim arising from a conspiracy among, or collusive agreement between, WP and one or more of its competitors.
If the Settlement is not approved, the case will proceed as if no Settlement had been attempted. There can be no assurance that if the Settlement is not approved and litigation resumes, the Class will recover more than is provided for under the Settlement, or will recover anything.
25. Are more details available?
The Notice is only intended to provide a summary of the proposed Settlement. You may obtain the complete text of the Settlement Agreement by clicking here, by writing to the Settlement Administrator (at the address listed below), or from the court file, which is available for your inspection during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, under Case Nos. 15-CV-05082-BLF and 16-CV-01478 BLF.
The Plaintiffs’ Complaint can be found by clicking here.
A Claim Form can be found by clicking here.
An Exclusion Request Form can be found be clicking here.
You may contact the Claims Administator by writing to:
Soto v. Wild Planet Foods Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
You may also contact Class Counsel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to: Bursor & Fisher, P.A., 1990 North California Blvd., Suite 940, Walnut Creek, California 94596.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO THE COURT FOR INFORMATION OR ADVICE.