Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I get the Notice?
  2. What is this lawsuit about?
  3. What is a class action and who is involved?
  4. Am I part of this Class?
  5. What does the lawsuit complain about?
  6. How does StarKist answer?
  7. Has the Court decided who is right?
  8. What does the Proposed Settlement provide if I submit a claim?
  9. How do I submit a Claim Form?
  10. What if I didn't get a Claim Form in the mail or by email?
  11. What happens if I do nothing at all?
  12. Why would I ask to be excluded?
  13. How do I exclude myself from the Class?
  14. How do I tell the Court I don't like the Proposed Settlement?
  15. What's the difference between objecting and excluding?
  16. Can I appear or speak in this lawsuit and Proposed Settlement?
  17. How can I appear in this lawsuit?
  18. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  19. Should I get my own lawyer?
  20. How will the lawyers be paid?
  21. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
  22. Do I have to come to the hearing?
  23. May I speak at the hearing?
  24. What is the effect of final settlement approval?
  25. Are more details available?

1. Why did I get the Notice?

If you purchased one or more of the StarKist Products from February 19, 2009 through October 31, 2014, you have a right to know about a Proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit and your options. If you have received the Notice in the mail or by email, you have been identified from available records as a purchaser of the StarKist Products. You also may have received the Notice because you requested more information after reading the Publication Notice.

The Court ordered that you be given the Notice because you have a right to know about a Proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will oversee the Settlement Benefits that the settlement allows. You will be informed of the progress of the settlement.

The Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the case is known as Hendricks v. StarKist Co., Case No. 13-CV-00729-HSG. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff, and the company he sued, StarKist, is called the Defendant.

2. What is this lawsuit about?

This lawsuit claimed that StarKist under-filled certain 5 oz. canned tuna products in violation of state and federal law.

StarKist denies that it under-filled its products and denies that it did anything wrong, and the Court has not made any ruling on the factual allegations in the lawsuit. StarKist denies that the Plaintiffs and the Class have suffered any damages or that they have been harmed in any way. StarKist, however, has chosen to provide its customers with a cash payment and/or vouchers for StarKist products rather than spending additional money on costly litigation.

3. What is a class action and who is involved?

In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called "Class Representatives" (in this case, Plaintiff Patrick Hendricks) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a "Class" or "Class Members." The named plaintiff who sued is called the Plaintiff. The company he sued (in this case, StarKist) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

4. Am I part of this Class?

If you fit into the following description, you are a Class Member: All residents of the United States of America who, from February 19, 2009 through October 31, 2014, purchased any of the StarKist Products (i.e., 5 oz. Chunk Light in Water, 5 oz. Chunk Light in Oil, 5 oz. Solid White in Water, and 5 oz. Solid White in Oil).

You are a Class Member if you purchased one or more of these products from February 19, 2009 through October 31, 2014:

5 oz. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water
Can of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water

5 oz. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Oil
Can of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Oil

5 oz. StarKist Solid White Tuna in Water
Can of StarKist Solid White Tuna in Water

5 oz. StarKist Solid White Tuna in Oil
Can of StarKist Solid White Tuna in Oil

5. What does the lawsuit complain about?

StarKist sells tuna products throughout the United States, including the StarKist Products in this case (i.e., 5 oz. Chunk Light in Water, 5 oz. Chunk Light in Oil, 5 oz. Solid White in Water, and 5 oz. Solid White in Oil). Plaintiff alleges that StarKist under-filled certain of its 5 oz. cans in violation of state and federal law. You can read Plaintiff's Complaint here.

6. How does StarKist answer?

StarKist denies any wrongdoing and denies the Plaintiff's allegations. You can read StarKist's Answer to the Complaint here.

7. Has the Court decided who is right?

The Court hasn't decided whether the Defendant or the Plaintiff are correct. Instead, the parties agreed to a Proposed Settlement to avoid the expense and risks of continuing the lawsuit.

You have to decide now whether to submit a claim, do nothing at all, or ask to be excluded from the Proposed Settlement. You may also choose to object to the Proposed Settlement.

8. What does the Proposed Settlement provide if I submit a claim?

The settlement provides that StarKist will pay $8 million in cash and $4 million in vouchers redeemable for StarKist tuna products. You may submit a claim for either:

  1. a cash payment of $25, or
  2. $50 in product vouchers redeemable for StarKist tuna products.

You may choose to claim the cash payment or the product vouchers, whichever you prefer. These claim amounts may be subject to pro rata dilution if the total amount of claims exceeds the available settlement funds.

You do not need a receipt or other proof of purchase to submit a claim. You will, however, be required to submit a Claim Form confirming under penalty of perjury:

  1. the specific StarKist product(s) you purchased, and
  2. that the purchase or purchases were made within the Settlement Class Period.

9. How do I submit a Claim Form?

Class Members who wish to receive Settlement Benefits must submit claims. To submit a claim, you must complete a Claim Form. You can get a Claim Form on this website. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the form, and submit it online on or before November 20, 2015. Alternatively, you may also submit your Claim Form by mailing it to the following address: Hendricks v. StarKist Co. Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 40007, College Station, TX 77842-4007. It must be postmarked no later than November 20, 2015.

If you received the Notice in the mail or by email, a Claim Form is enclosed or attached.

10. What if I didn't get a Claim Form in the mail or by email?

If you didn't receive a Claim Form in the mail or by email, you can obtain the Claim Form in one of three ways:

  1. By Phone: Call toll-free, 1-888- 643-6376
  2. By Mail: Write to Hendricks v. StarKist Co. Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 40007, College Station, TX 77842-4007. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
  3. Online: You can download and submit the Claim Form online on this website.

11. What happens if I do nothing at all?

By doing nothing, you are staying in the Class but will not receive any Settlement Benefits. Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, you will not be able to separately sue, or continue to sue, StarKist – as part of any other lawsuit – for the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit. You will also be legally bound by all of the Orders the Court issues and judgments the Court makes in this class action. You must exclude yourself to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against StarKist about the subject matter of this lawsuit ever again.

12. Why would I ask to be excluded?

If you exclude yourself from the Class – which is sometimes called "opting-out" of the Class – you won't get any Settlement Benefits from the Proposed Settlement. However, you may then be able to separately sue or continue to sue StarKist for the legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court's judgments in this Proposed Settlement.

If you bring your own lawsuit against StarKist after you exclude yourself, you will have to hire and pay your own lawyer for that lawsuit, and you will have to prove your claims. If you do exclude yourself so you can start or continue your own lawsuit against StarKist, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations.

13. How do I exclude myself from the Class?

To exclude yourself from the Class, you must send a written request for exclusion that is received no later than November 20, 2015, to:

Hendricks v. StarKist Co. Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 40007
College Station, TX 77842-4007

Your request for exclusion must contain:

  1. the name of this lawsuit, "Hendricks v. StarKist Co., Case No. 13-CV-00729-HSG";
  2. your full name and current address;
  3. a clear statement of intention to exclude yourself such as "I wish to be excluded from the Class"; and
  4. your signature. You may also get an Exclusion Request Form on this website.

14. How do I tell the Court I don't like the Proposed Settlement?

To object, you must send a letter that contains all the following:

  • Your name and current address, and your lawyer's name and address if you are objecting through counsel;
  • The name of the lawsuit, Hendricks v. StarKist Co., Case No. 13-CV-00729-HSG;
  • A statement of your objections and the reasons for each objection you make;
  • A list of the documents you are giving the Court to support your objections, if any;
  • A list of any legal authorities you want the Court to consider;
  • The names and addresses of any witnesses you want to call to testify, and a summary of the witnesses' expected testimony;
  • If you (or your lawyer) want to appear and speak at the Fairness Hearing, a statement that you wish to appear and speak; and
  • Your signature (or your lawyer's signature).

Your objection must be signed, mailed, and postmarked by November 20, 2015 to the Court at:

CLERK OF THE COURT
United States District Court
Northern District of California
450 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Copies of your objection must also be signed, mailed, and postmarked by November 20, 2015 to the following addresses:

CLASS COUNSEL DEFENDANT'S COUNSEL
Scott A. Bursor
Bursor & Fisher, P.A.
888 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Robert Hawk
Hogan Lovells LLP
4085 Campbell Avenue, Suite 100
Menlo Park, CA 94025

If you object through a lawyer, you will have to pay for the lawyer yourself.

15. What's the difference between objecting and excluding?

Objecting is simply telling the Court you don't like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court you don't want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

16. Can I appear or speak in this lawsuit and Proposed Settlement?

As long as you do not exclude yourself, you can (but do not have to) participate and speak for yourself in this lawsuit and Proposed Settlement. This is called making an appearance. You can also have your own lawyer speak for you, but you will have to pay for the lawyer yourself.

17. How can I appear in this lawsuit?

If you want yourself or your own lawyer (instead of Class Counsel) to participate or speak for you in this lawsuit, you must give the Court a paper that is titled a "Notice of Appearance." The Notice of Appearance must contain:

  1. the title of the lawsuit,
  2. a statement that you wish to appear at the Fairness Hearing,
  3. and the signature of you or your lawyer.

Your Notice of Appearance can also state that you or your lawyer would like to speak at the Court's Fairness Hearing on the Proposed Settlement. If you submit an objection (see FAQ 14) and would like to speak about the objection at the Court's Fairness Hearing, both your Notice of Appearance and your objection should be included in that information.

Your Notice of Appearance must be signed, mailed, and postmarked by November 20, 2015 to the Court at:

CLERK OF THE COURT
United States District Court
Northern District of California
450 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Copies of your Notice of Appearance must also be signed, mailed, and postmarked by November 20, 2015 to the same two addresses appearing on page 6 of the Notice, or in FAQ 14 of this website.

18. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The law firm of Bursor & Fisher, P.A. ("Class Counsel") represents you and the other Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers. More information about Bursor & Fisher, P.A., their practice, and the firm's lawyers are available at www.bursor.com.

19. Should I get my own lawyer?

If you choose to remain in the Class, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Settlement Class Counsel are working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you will be responsible for paying that lawyer. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.

20. How will the lawyers be paid?

From the inception of the litigation in January 2013 to the present, Class Counsel has not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case or obtaining settlement, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. When they ask the Court to approve the settlement, Class Counsel will also make a motion to the Court for an award of attorneys' fees of up to one-third of the total $12 million value of the Settlement Fund. The Court may award less than that. In addition to those attorneys' fees, Class Counsel will also seek reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses from the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel will file their motion for attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses by October 30, 2015, which will be publicly available for viewing along with supporting materials on this website. Objections are due by November 20, 2015. No matter what the Court decides with regard to the requested attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, Class Members will not go out of pocket for the fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Class Counsel will seek final approval of the settlement on behalf of all Class Members. You may hire your own lawyer to represent you in this case if you wish, but it will be at your own expense.

The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don't have to attend or speak.

21. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on December 17, 2015, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, Courtroom 15, 18th Floor. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court will also consider Class Counsel's proposed Plan Of Allocation of the Settlement Fund and Settlement Class Counsel's request for an award of attorneys' fees and reimbursement of costs. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Proposed Settlement, whether to approve the proposed Plan of Allocation, and whether to grant Class Counsel's request for attorneys' fees and expenses. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

22. Do I have to come to the hearing?

No. Class Counsel is working on your behalf and will answer any questions the Court may have, but you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don't have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it's not necessary.

23. May I speak at the hearing?

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must follow the steps listed in FAQ 16 and FAQ 17. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

24. What is the effect of final settlement approval?

If the Court grants final approval of the settlement, all members of the Class will release and forever discharge any and all claims or causes of action that have been, might have been, are now, or could have been brought relating to the transactions, actions, conduct and events that are the subject of this action or settlement, arising from or related to the under-filling of tuna in the StarKist Products, whether in law or equity, whether seeking damages or any other relief (including attorneys' fees), of any kind or character, known or unknown, that are now recognized by law or that may be created or recognized in the future by statute, regulation, judicial decision, or in any other manner, based upon any federal or state statutory or common law, including, without limitation, claims sounding in tort, contract, and the consumer protection laws of the United States or of any state or other jurisdiction within the United States, as well as under the unfair or deceptive trade practices, trade regulation, consumer fraud, misrepresentation, and false advertising law of the United States or any state or other jurisdiction within the United States, including, but not limited to, any claims relating to the under-filling of tuna in the StarKist Products (the "Released Claims"). Excluded from the Released Claims are any and all claims for personal injury, wrongful death, and/or emotional distress arising from personal injury.

If the settlement is not approved, the case will proceed as if no settlement had been attempted. There can be no assurance that if the settlement is not approved and litigation resumes, the Class will recover more than is provided for under the settlement, or will recover anything.

25. Are more details available?

The Notice is only intended to provide a summary of the Proposed Settlement. You may obtain the complete text of the Settlement Agreement on this website, or from the court file, which is available for your inspection during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, under the Civil Action Number 13-CV-00729-HSG.

You may also contact Class Counsel by email at info@bursor.com, or by writing to:

Hendricks v. StarKist Co. Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 40007
College Station, TX 77842-4007

Please DO NOT call or write to the Court for information or advice.