If you are a person or entity in the United States who sold raw, harvested runner peanuts to any of the Defendants, their subsidiaries or joint-ventures, from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2019, your rights may be affected by recent court decisions certifying a class action against the Defendants and preliminarily approving settlements with certain Defendants.
March 13, 2021 — Exclusion Deadline
March 13, 2021 — Objection Deadline
March 25, 2021 — Fairness Hearing
April 23, 2021 — Preliminary Approval Hearing for proposed Settlement with Golden Peanut Company, LLC
Plaintiffs have reached a settlement with Defendant Golden Peanut Company, LLC. The Court will hold a preliminary approval hearing as to that settlement on April 23, 2021 at 10 a.m. eastern. Please be advised that the Court has decided to hold the preliminry approval hearing remotely. Counsel will participate via Zoom videoconference. The public may attend by telephone. Please do not try to attend in person. A list of remote teleconference numbers can be accessed by clicking here: Remote Teleconference Listing 100120.xlsx (uscourts.gov)
July 26, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. — Fairness Hearing for the Golden Peanut Settlement
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on July 26, 2021 in Courtroom 4 of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, located at United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk Division), Walter E. Hoffman E. Hoffman United States Courthouse, 600 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23510. The hearing can be attended remotely by calling 1-888-363-4735, Access Code 1423918.
- This litigation is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in an action captioned In Re Peanut Farmers Antitrust Litigation, No. 2:19-cv-00463 (E.D. Va.) (the “Action”), in which Plaintiffs have alleged, among other things, that Defendants Golden Peanut Company LLC (“Golden Peanut”), Birdsong Corporation (“Birdsong”), and Olam Peanut Shelling Company, Inc. (“Olam”) entered into a contract, combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade, the purpose and effect of which was to suppress competition and to pay depressed prices to farmers for runner peanut farmerstock during the Class Period, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (the “Claims”). The Defendants have denied and continue to deny each and all of the claims and contentions alleged in the Action, or that could have been alleged in the Action, and have asserted numerous defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims.
- The Notice is given pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and an Order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (the “Court”) determining that this Action may proceed as a class action on behalf of the following Class: All persons or entities in the United States who sold raw, harvested runner peanuts to any of the Defendants, their subsidiaries or joint-ventures, from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2019 (the “Class Period”). Specifically excluded from this Class are the Defendants; the officers, directors or employees of any Defendant; any entity in which any Defendant has a controlling interest; and any affiliate, legal representative, heir or assign of any Defendant.
- The Notice is also given pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Orders of the Court to inform you of a hearing before the Court to consider: (1) proposed settlements with the Olam and Birdsong Defendants and (2) Settlement Class Counsel’s request for reimbursement of litigation costs and expenses from the proceeds of the proposed settlements.
- The Notice provides information concerning: (1) the Court’s decision certifying this case as a class action and Class Members’ right to remain in the Class and be bound by any judgments, decisions or settlements in the case, as well as their right to exclude themselves from the Class and not be bound by any such judgments, decisions or settlements; (2) the proposed Olam and Birdsong settlements and Class Counsel’s motion for reimbursement of litigation costs and expenses, and Settlement Class Members’ rights if they remain in either or both of the Settlement Classes and Settlement Class Members’ right to exclude themselves from either or both of the Settlement Classes.
- On December 23, 2020, the Court preliminarily approved settlements (the “Settlements”) with Olam and Birdsong (the “Settling Defendants”) totaling $57,750,000 and certified an Olam Settlement Class and a Birdsong Settlement Class. The Action is still proceeding against Golden Peanut (“Non-Settling Defendant”). The Court has scheduled a hearing (“Fairness Hearing”) for March 25, 2021 to determine whether to approve the Settlements and whether to approve Settlement Class Counsel’s request for reimbursement of litigation costs and expenses. The Settlements, if finally approved by the Court, will offer cash payments to Class Members who file valid Claims in accordance with a Distribution Plan approved by the Court. Additional information regarding the Settlements, the Fairness Hearing, the proposed Distribution Plan, and your rights to share in any distribution is discussed below.
- A portion of the Settlements’ proceeds are being used by the Settlement Administrator to administer the Notice Program. The remainder of the Settlements’ proceeds will remain available for distribution to Class Members, any future notice costs, and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and service awards that the Court chooses to award to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs and their counsel are not presently seeking any attorneys’ fees or service awards from the Settlements’ proceeds, but may do so in the future, subject to additional notice to you and approval by the Court. At this time, Plaintiffs and their counsel will request that the Court award up to $2,000,000 for reimbursement of current litigation costs and expenses. Plaintiffs and their counsel may seek further expense reimbursement for future costs and expenses, subject to additional notice to you and approval by the Court. In addition, please consult the case website, www.PeanutFarmersAntitrustLitigation.com, regularly for updates on the case and these Settlements.
- As explained in more detail below, you have the right to opt out of the Class or remain in the Class. You also have the right to remain in the Class and to opt out of or remain in either or both Settlement Classes.
- Please read the notice carefully. Your legal rights will be affected, and you have choices to make now.
|SUMMARY OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS||DEADLINE|
DO NOTHING AND REMAIN IN THE CLASS AND THE SETTLEMENT CLASSES
|You do not need to take any action to remain a member of the Class and the Settlement Classes. Your interests will be represented by the Class Representatives (and Settlement Class Representatives) and Class Counsel (and Settlement Class Counsel) listed below. As a member of the Class and the Settlement Classes, you will be bound by any judgments, decisions, or settlements in the Action..||None.|
|This is the only option that allows you to keep your right to assert any claims against the Settling Defendants and the Non-Settling Defendant. If you exclude yourself from the Class, you will not be able to participate in any distribution of the proceeds from the Settlements with the Settling Defendants or any judgment against, or settlement with, the Non-Settling Defendant in the Action.||March 13, 2021|
REMAIN IN THE CLASS AND EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM ONE, BUT NOT BOTH, OF THE SETTLEMENT CLASSES
|If you remain in the Class, but exclude yourself from one, but not both, of the Settlement Classes, you will be bound by any judgments, decisions, or settlements relating to the Non-Settling Defendant and the Settling Defendant for the Class and the Settlement Class in which you remain. With respect to the Settlement Class from which you exclude yourself, you will not be bound by any judgment, decisions, or settlements relating to that Settling Defendant.||March 13, 2021|
REMAIN IN THE CLASS AND EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM BOTH OF THE SETTLEMENT CLASSES
|If you remain in the Class, but exclude yourself from both of the Settlement Classes, you will be bound by any judgments, decision, or settlements relating to the Non-Settling Defendant, but will not be bound by any judgment, decisions, or settlements relating to the Settling Defendants.||March 13, 2021|
OBJECT AND/OR ATTEND A HEARING
|If you remain in either or both of the Settlement Classes, you will have the right to file a written objection to the Settlement for which you remain a Settlement Class Member and may also request to be heard at the Fairness Hearing on March 25, 2021.||March 13, 2021|
- Your rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in the notice.
- The Court in charge of this Action will decide whether to finally approve the Settlements. Payments to Class Members will be made if the Court finally approves the Settlements and after any appeals are resolved.