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Menu Foods Class Action

UPDATE as of April 6, 2011

For this settlement to be put into effect, it had to be approved in the U.S. and Canada. There have been a series of hearings in the U.S. courts which have delayed implementation. However, on April 5, 2011, the U.S. trial court reaffirmed the settlement in its entirety. The Claims Administrator is now working diligently to reimburse all claims as promptly as possible. The Claims Administrator will send each claimant a letter advising him or her of determinations made regarding his or her claim. Within approximately 60 days thereafter, each claimant's final settlement amount will be sent and a check will be mailed.

You can continue to monitor our website for updates or the official Administrator’s website at http://www.petfoodsettlement.com

UPDATE as of September, 2009

The proposed settlement has been approved by all nine Canadian courts and the United States District Court.  Appeals have since been filed in the United States by two separate objectors contesting final approval of the Settlement.  As the settlement is conditional upon final approval in all jurisdictions, these US appeals must be resolved before any claims can be paid.  It is uncertain how long the US appeals will take to resolve and unfortunately the timing of resolving the appeals is not within the control of the parties or their counsel.  It is not uncommon for appeals to take several months or even years to resolve.

You can continue to monitor our website for updates or the official Administrator’s website at http://www.petfoodsettlement.com

Background

On March 27, 2007, Branch MacMaster commenced a proposed class action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against various Menu Foods companies as a result of the manufacturing and sale of contaminated pet food. In doing so, Branch MacMaster joined forces with a number of other law firms who commenced similar actions in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

This proposed class action is being brought by Vicki Joel. A copy of the Writ of Summons filed in British Columbia can be found by clicking here. A copy of the Statement of Claim filed in British Columbia can be found by clicking here. There is now a proposed settlement of this case, which is discussed further below.

Who is in the Class?

The proposed class members are persons resident in British Columbia who purchased dog or cat food manufactured by the Defendants between November 8, 2006 and March 6, 2007 and which was subject to the March 16, 2007 recall issued by Menu Foods Income Fund, as updated on various dates thereafter.

The Recalled Pet Food

For a list of the brands and varieties of pet food that were included in Menu Food's recall (the "Recalled Pet Food"), please go to http://www.petfoodsettlement.com/documents/miscellaneous/recalled-products.pdf or contact our paralegal Ulla Herlev at (604) 654-2964 or uherlev@branmac.com.

The Proposed Settlement

Following a series of mediations conducted since October 26, 2007, the parties have reached a proposed settlement of all claims relating to the manufacture, distribution or sale of the Recalled Pet food. The proposed settlement encompasses 180 brands of pet food and pet treats produced by twelve different manufacturers, including Menu Foods, and distributed, marketed and sold by dozens of retailers.

The proposed settlement provides for the creation of a $24 million settlement fund, which will be used to pay for the economic losses sustained by those who purchased the recalled pet food or fed it to their pets. Economic losses may include veterinary screening or treatment costs, death-related expenses, pet purchase or new pet costs, property damage and other costs. While losses supported by documents will be compensated more fully, the settlement also provides for some payment for certain undocumented economic losses, subject to review and decision by the Claims Administrator. Any money left over after all claims are paid will be donated to animal welfare charities in Canada and in the U.S.

The proposed settlement does not provide any compensation for non-economic losses. The proposed settlement provides that all Class Members who do not opt out of the Proposed Settlement will release and will be barred from bringing any proceeding, claim or action, including claims for non-economic losses against the Defendants and others, including entities not named as Defendants that are involved in the manufacture, distribution or sale of the Recalled Pet Food Product(s). A list of the entities and the claims that will be released under the Proposed Settlement is available here:

http://www.petfoodsettlement.com/documents/miscellaneous/defendants.pdf

In order to become effective, the Proposed Settlement must be approved by all Canadian Courts where lawsuits were commenced, and by a United States District Court.The final hearings to approve the settlement will take place on October 14, 2008 (in the U.S.) and on November 3, 2008 (in Canada).

The Canadian claims were prosecuted by members of a national consortium of law firms comprising Branch MacMaster, Sutts Strosberg LLP, Rochon Genova LLP, Falconer Charney LLP, Himelfarb Proszanski LLP, Pollock & Company, Barry Spalding Lawyers, Wagners Law Firm and Docken & Company, and by Merchant Law Group. Ward Branch and Luciana Brasil of Branch MacMaster will be responsible for managing approval of the settlement before the Canadian courts.

Your Options

  1. If you support the Proposed Settlement, you do not have to appear at the Final Approval Hearings. If the Court approves the Proposed Settlement, you will be bound by all the Courts' orders, the release and other provisions of the Settlement Agreement. This means you will give up any legal rights you may have against defendants and other released entities and individuals covered by the Settlement, regardless of whether you file a claim or not.
  2. If you wish to make a claim under the Settlement, you must complete, sign, and return a Claim Form, along with any accompanying documentation, to the Claims Administrator at the address listed at the end of this notice. You may obtain a Claim Form by clicking here:
  3. Calling the toll-free number 1-800-392-7785 or by visiting the Settlement Website www.petfoodsettlement.com. Claim Forms submitted by Canadian residents must be postmarked, faxed or emailed no later than January 2, 2009. Claims may be submitted immediately now, but if the Proposed Settlement is not Approved by the Court, the claims will not be paid, and the class certification order will be cancelled. If the Proposed Settlement is approved, Claims will begin to be processed and paid in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
  4. If you do not wish to be a member of the Class Action or be bound by the terms of the Proposed Settlement, including the Release, or you wish to advance your own lawsuit at your own expense you must submit an opt out request with your name, address and telephone number to the Claims Administrator at the address listed at the end of this notice, postmarked no later than September 13, 2008. Further information regarding the procedure to opt out is available at www.petfoodsettlement.com, or by contacting the Claims Administrator at 1-800-392-7785. If you request to be excluded from the Class Action, you cannot make a claim in, or object to, this Settlement.

More detailed information on your options, the terms of the proposed settlement and the claims process can be found in the Notice:

More Information?

For more information, you can visit the settlement website:www.petfoodsettlement.com, or contact the Claims Administrator:

In Re Pet Food Products Liability Litigation
Claims Administrator
c/o Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP
P.O. Box 890
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890 (USA)
1-800-392-7785
claims@petfoodsettlement.com

Contact us?

If you prefer, you can contact us for further information:

Branch MacMaster
Barristers & Solicitors
Suite 1410 - 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver , BC V6C 1S4
Attention: Ulla Herlev
Email: uherlev@branmac.com
Telephone: 604-654-2964
Fax: 604-684-3429