On March 27th, 2007, Branch MacMaster LLP 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.
Following a series of mediations in 2007, the parties reached a settlement of all claims relating to the manufacture, distribution or sale of the recalled pet food. The proposed settlement encompassed 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 provided fa $24 million settlement fund, which was 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.
The Canadian claims were prosecuted by members of a national consortium of law firms comprising Branch MacMaster LLP, 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 were responsible for managing approval of the settlement before the Canadian courts.
A settlement was approved by all nine Canadian courts and the United States District Court.