Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Payouts Could Be Wide in Suit over Fishy Canning Myriad Starkist Nears Settlement over Tuna

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Payouts Could Be Wide in Suit over Fishy Canning Myriad Starkist Nears Settlement over Tuna

Article excerpt

Almost anyone who bought a 5-ounce can of StarKist tuna in the past five years could be a beneficiary of a proposed $12 million class-action settlement meant to resolve a California lawsuit alleging those cans didn't hold enough fish.

StarKist, which has its headquarters on Pittsburgh's North Shore, still insists that its customers weren't shorted at all but said it wants to see the litigation resolved.

A judge in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District in California is scheduled next week to review a plan that calls for the tuna company to pay $12 million into a settlement fund, including $8 million in cash and $4 million in vouchers for products.

If approved, the settlement would resolve the case of Patrick Hendricks v. StarKist Co., which was filed in 2013 by a California man who said tests showed the cans he bought were underfilled.

Since then, the two sides have battled over the industry's standards for weighing tuna and how those standards should be applied.

Two earlier efforts to reach a settlement were unsuccessful, but in April the parties came up with a binding settlement term sheet, the court filing said.

StarKist, which claims to be the U.S. market leader in canned tuna, ahead of competitors such as Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea, on Wednesday reiterated its denial of the allegations.

"This settlement allows StarKist to stay focused on our core mission of providing healthy and delicious seafood to our consumers," said the statement from Michelle Faist, senior manager, corporate affairs.

The agreement specifically defines the class of potential beneficiaries to include: "All residents of the United States of America who, from Feb. 19, 2009, through Oct. 31, 2014, purchased any of the StarKist products (i.e. 5 oz. chunk light in water, 5 oz. …

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