Friday, November 17, 2017

Ongoing Case Alert: In re Packaged Seafood Prods. Antitrust Litig., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158858 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 26, 2017)


Defendants are a number of seafood processors (mostly producers of tuna cans) that include a Korean company (Dongwon Inudstries, which purchased Starkist in 2008.) Plaintiffs allege a conspiracy to fix the prices of packaged seafood throughout the United States. Defendants previously filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted for the most part. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, and the defendants again moved to dismiss. But during the pendency of the motion, several executives for Bumble Bee tuna products pleaded guilty to the charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The court denied the motion to dismiss for the most part. The court noted that the defendants are estopped from raising a new argument that they previously did not raise in the first round of the motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(g)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court also assessed whether the plaintiffs stated the claim to certify the class pursuant to a number of state laws, and denied the motion to dismiss for the most part. The court also dismissed the claims against Dongwon to the extent such claims were based on conducted prior to 2008.


Simply because I like to eat, I always find it fascinating to read cases about food companies. Also: did you know that South Korea is the leading country in tuna fishing and processing? And that an all-American brand like Starkist actually is Korean? Tuna fishing in Korea developed as a part and parcel of its shipping industry, which is also world-leading.

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