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Maple Leaf Products - Listeriosis Outbreak Class Action

Branch MacMaster is part of a national consortium of lawyers who have commenced class action lawsuits against Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in relation to certain recalled food products that were potentially contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes (the “Recalled Products”).

JANUARY 19, 2012 - UPDATE:

Following the completion of the claims assessment process, and determination of the amounts payable to provincial health care authorities, the Class Administrator was able to prepare a final report on the amounts payable for claims submitted pursuant to the settlement agreement.

PRO RATA DISCOUNT TO ENTITLEMENTS: Due to the high volume and value of claims approved for payment from the fixed settlement trust fund, a pro-rata deduction must be applied. Practically speaking, this means that every approved claimant will be paid slightly less than the amount indicated in the Decision Letter. No more than 10% is expected to be ordered deducted from the amount stated in the Decision Letter.

Each of the three courts have now approved the pro-rata distribution of funds to all approved claimants, and the subrogated claim payments to the provincial health care authorities. However, these approvals must be confirmed by way of written orders of the Courts. We anticipate the orders will be issued in the very near future, and once that happens, the Class Administrator will begin printing and mailing all cheques.

Cheques will be mailed by regular mail, in a letter sized white envelope, to the address that the Class Administrator has on file for each approved claimant.

The Class Administrator will post a special notice on the class action website (http://www.mapleleafclaim.com/claim.php?locale=en_CA) on the day that the cheques are mailed. Possibly in 2-3 weeks.

 

News Update: The Courts have approved the Parties’ Proposed Settlement

The parties reached a PROPOSED SETTLEMENT of the claims advanced in these class actions, and this proposed settlement has now been approved by the Courts. If you or your family consumed any of the Recalled Products, you may be entitled to compensation.

A complete list of Recalled Products which are included in the Settlement is available at http://www.mapleleafclaim.com/claim.php?locale=en_CA&page=recalls

What are the Settlement Benefits?

The settlement creates a $25 million settlement fund (“Settlement Fund”) from which eligible claimants will receive compensation. The Defendants will also pay up to a further $2 million dollars if the Settlement Fund is insufficient to fully compensate all eligible claims. The amount each claimant will receive depends upon the severity of their illness. Claimants may also claim for lost income and certain out-of-pocket expenses. For claimants who sustained physical symptoms consistent with Listeriosis, the compensation ranges from $750 (for physical symptoms lasting between 24-48 hours) up to $125,000 (for serious and long lasting physical injuries). The estates of Class Members who died as a result of symptoms consistent with Listeriosis will be paid $120,000, plus additional substantial amounts to immediate family members. Notice costs, administration costs, and class counsel fees and disbursements will be paid out of the Settlement Fund.

Is the Settlement Effective Now?

Yes. In order for the settlement to become effective, it had to be approved by the courts in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Québec, each of which, in turn,  had to be satisfied that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of Class Members.

While the proposed settlement is nationwide, three class actions  served as the lead actions for the purposes of considering whether the settlement is fair and reasonable. The “Lead Actions” are:

  • Bishay Estate et al. v. Maple Leaf Foods et al., Court File No. QB 1173 in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan (the “Saskatchewan Action”), for residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, North West Territories, Nunavut, and residents outside of Canada;
  • Bilodeau et al. v. Maple Leaf Foods et al., Court File No. CV-08-361464CP in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the “Ontario Action”), for residents of Ontario, B.C. and Alberta; and
  • Melvin and Option Consommateurs et al. v. Maple Leaf Foods et al., Court File No. 500-06-445-086 in the Superior Court of Québec (the “Québec Action”), for residents of Québec.

Each of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench and Quebec Superior Court have now approved the Settlement, and as such the Settlement is now in force.

What are My Options and How do I Make a Claim?

Your options and detailed information on how to make a claim is available from the Claims Administrator, Bruneau Group Inc., who has been appointed by the Courts to administer the settlement and process claims. Bruneau Group Inc. has established a dedicated website with information about the settlement, your options and the claims process at www.mapleleafclaim.com (in English) and www.reclamationmapleleaf.com (in French).

Please note that if you wish to make a claim for benefits under the Settlement, you must submit your claim and all supporting documents to the Claims Administrator by November 2, 2009.

You may also contact the Claims Administrator, Bruneau Group Inc. directly at 1-800-801-2521, or by mail or fax:

Bruneau Group Inc.
P.O. Box 20187 - 390 Rideau Street
Ottawa ON K1N 9P4
Attention: Maple Leaf Foods Class Action Settlement
Fax: 613-562-0321

Contact us?

If you prefer, you can also contact us for further information, or if you need any assistance:

Branch MacMaster
Barristers & Solicitors
Suite 1410 - 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4
Attention: Luciana Brasil
Email: lbrasil@branmac.com
Telephone: 604-654-2960
Fax: 604-684-3429