WASHINGTON - Wednesday, December 10th 2014 [ME NewsWire]
(BUSINESS WIRE) -- On December 9, 2014, U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson granted final approval of a $297 million settlement between plaintiffs in a multidistrict class action and defendant U.S. Foodservice, Inc. and its former Dutch parent company, Koninklijke Ahold, N.V.
Richard L. Wyatt Jr., partner and co-leader of Hunton & Williams’ litigation department, who led the firm’s legal team on behalf of the plaintiff class — which includes restaurants, hospitals, universities and other food service providers across the United States — had several comments:
“We are pleased with the Court’s grant of final approval and entry of judgment. We appreciate the court’s recognition of the many years of hard work that have gone into achieving this noteworthy result for the class.”
“The settlement has been very well received in the food service industry. Many in the industry have been vocal with their support, and the Court did not receive a single objection to the settlement.”
“The settlement funds are very substantial, and we look forward to distributing them to the class, including the many hospitals and restaurant operators across the country who are among some of the largest customers of U.S. Foodservice.”
This agreement is believed to be one of the largest civil RICO class action settlements in recent history and was reached on behalf of a class of customers, primarily hospitals, restaurant operators, universities and other food service providers, who purchased products from U.S. Foodservice under cost-plus arrangements between 1998 and 2005. The class claimed that it was defrauded by U.S. Foodservice when it created six companies that it controlled to inflate the “cost component” of the products that were subject to the arrangement.
The parties entered into settlement talks when the United States Supreme Court declined to review a federal appeals court opinion affirming certification of a nationwide class of plaintiffs for RICO and breach of contract violations against U.S. Foodservice. The Court today found the settlement to be a “fair, adequate and reasonable” resolution of the plaintiffs’ claims.
Class members can file claims to recover their damages at www.usfoodservicepricinglitigation.com until December 19, 2014.
The Hunton team representing the plaintiffs-class of customers was led by Richard L. Wyatt Jr. and included Torsten M. Kracht, Ryan P. Phair, Carter T. Coker, Rachel E. Mossman andChristopher J. Dufek.
Plaintiffs were also represented by R. Laurence Macon of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, James E. Hartley, Jr. of Drubner Hartley & Hellman, LLC, Joseph R, Whatley, Jr. of Whatley Kallas, LLP, Celeste T. Jones of The McNair Law Firm, P.A., Mr. Gray of Gray and White, LLP and Robert Foote of Foote, Mielkie, Chavez and O’Neil, LLC. U.S. Koninklijke Ahold, N.V (also known as Royal Ahold) and U.S. Foodservice were represented by White & Case LLP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.
About Hunton & Williams LLP
Since its establishment more than a century ago, Hunton & Williams has grown to 800 lawyers serving clients from 19 offices worldwide. With an industry focus on energy, financial services, consumer products and retail, and real estate, the firm’s global experience extends to legal disciplines including corporate transactions and securities law, intellectual property, international and government relations, regulatory law, privacy and cybersecurity, and commercial litigation. For additional information visit www.hunton.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, andYouTube.
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