On August 3, 2015, Hausfeld filed the first lawsuit in this consolidated litigation, on behalf of a class of direct purchasers. Other civil cases followed, including two indirect purchaser class cases and various individual actions. The civil cases follow a criminal antitrust investigation being prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice, which has obtained guilty pleas from Bumble Bee and two of its executives, as well as a StarKist executive. Chicken of the Sea has confirmed that it is the leniency applicant and is cooperating with the DOJ’s investigation. The Grand Jury has also recently indicted Bumble Bee CEO Christopher Lischewski.
The consolidated litigation is now in the discovery phase, having successfully defeated numerous motions to dismiss by the Defendants. The Honorable Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin is presiding over discovery in the litigation.
Additionally, based on information obtained in discovery, Hausfeld was the first of all the plaintiff groups to request that the Court grant leave to add as defendants Lion Capital LLP and related Lion entities, which own Bumble Bee. The Court has granted that request.
Based on the Court’s Scheduling Order, Hausfeld expects that the Court will determine whether to certify the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ proposed class before the end of 2018. No trial date has yet been set.