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Truth in advertising laws form the foundation for federal and state consumer protection statutes. Wild Planet Inc. found out the hard way that most consumers want the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to product marketing and packaging.
Lead plaintiff Ehder Soto initiated the Wild Planet, Sustainable Seas Tuna class action lawsuit in November of 2015. He alleged in the class action lawsuit that Wild Foods Inc. lied about the weight of the contents in cans of Sustainable Seas Tuna. According to court documents, Soto bought numerous cans of the Wild Planet tuna in 2012 and 2013. Tests performed by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed the cans of tuna weighed 30 percent less than the five ounces listed on the cans.
A couple of months after Soto filed the class action lawsuit, Primary plaintiff Heney Shihad filed a separate class action lawsuit that made nearly identical allegations. Both plaintiffs claimed Wild Planet Inc. violated federal law, California common law, and California consumer protection law. The court combined the two class action lawsuits in April of 2016.
After more than six months spent negotiating a class action settlement, both parties agreed to a settlement late in 2016, with the court preliminarily approving the agreement in May of 2017. Wild Planet must create a $1.7 million settlement fund, of which some of the money goes to eligible class members. The settlement fund also distributes to Soto and Shihad to cover incentive awards, as well as for court costs and attorney fees.
What You Need To Know
According to class counsel, eligible class members “include all U.S. residents who between Nov. 5, 2011 and May 12, 2017 purchased a can of tuna under the Wild Planet or Sustainable Seas brands.” Class members who want to opt out of the settlement or contest any of the provisions have until August 25, 2017 to file the proper paperwork. The potential award per eligible class member is a maximum of $29, with the final amount determined by the number of valid and timely claim forms submitted. Class members only have to submit a claim form, with no proof of purchase required to receive monetary damages. Class members have until August 25, 2017 to file a valid claim form.
The judge presiding over the case Ehder Soto v. Wild Planet Foods Inc., Case No. 5:15-cv-05082, and Heney Shihad v. Wild Planet Foods Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-01478, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has scheduled the final hearing on September 14, 2017. Find out what transpired at the final hearing by accessing the class action settlement website www.WildPlanetSettlement.com. The class action settlement website also presents a list of the attorneys working for the class and defense counsels.
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