In re Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation
Wholesale Grocery Products Lawsuit
Civil No. 09-md-02090-ADM-TNL

Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

Expand/Collapse All
  • A Notice was mailed to individuals who, according to Supervalu’s records, may have been customers between December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008 (the “Class Period”). If you paid fees under Supervalu’s Activity Based Sell (“ABS”) pricing system, and if you paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu during the Class Period, and purchased from the distribution centers ("DC"s) outlined in this Notice, you may be a Class Member. If you are a Class Member, you have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court holds a trial or the case is otherwise resolved.

  • The Plaintiffs claim that the Classes were harmed by an alleged conspiracy between competitor grocery wholesalers Supervalu and C&S, in which C&S allegedly agreed not to compete with Supervalu for wholesale grocery customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A Settlement has been reached with Supervalu for members of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class. THIS SETTLEMENT ONLY AFFECTS THE CHAMPAIGN DC NON-ARBITRATION CLASS.

    In April 2018, a jury trial was held before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in the District of Minnesota for claims by the five Midwest Plaintiff classes defined below against the remaining Defendant C&S. On April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant C&S. On April 20, 2018, the Court entered judgment in favor of C&S. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

  • In a class action, one or more people or businesses, called Class Representatives, sue on behalf of themselves and all others who have similar claims. Everyone who has claims similar to the Class Representatives are Class Members, except for those who are excluded or who exclude themselves from the class (see Question No. 13).

    The Court has allowed, or certified, five Classes in this class action lawsuit. Judge Ann D. Montgomery of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as In re Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation, Civil No. 09-md-02090-ADM-TNL.

    The Court decided that this lawsuit can proceed as a class action because it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts. Specifically, the Court found that:

    • There are many customers whose interests will be affected by this lawsuit;
    • There are legal questions and facts that are common to them all;
    • The Class Representatives’ claims are typical of the claims of the rest of the Class;
    • The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing the Class will fairly and adequately represent the Class’ interests;
    • The common legal questions and facts predominate over questions that affect only individual Class Members; and
    • Proceeding as a class action is more efficient than several individual lawsuits.
        

    More information can be found in the Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order, dated September 7, 2016, available on the Important Documents page, or on the Court’s website at http://www.mnd.uscourts.gov/MDL-Wholesale/.

  • In this case, D&G, Inc. d/b/a Gary’s Foods is the Class Representative of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class; Blue Goose Super Market, Inc. is the Class Representative of the Champaign DC Arbitration Class; Nemecek Markets, Inc. is the Class Representative of the Green Bay DC Class; Millennium Operations, Inc. d/b/a R.C. Dick’s Market is the Class Representative of the Hopkins DC Class; and Elkhorn-Lueptows, Inc., Jefferson Lueptows, Inc., and East Troy Lueptows, Inc. are the Class Representatives of the Pleasant Prairie Class.  The Court has certified these Classes (see Question No. 8) and appointed Co-Lead Class Counsel and Liaison Counsel for the Classes.

  • Plaintiffs claim the Classes were harmed by an alleged conspiracy between competitor grocery wholesalers Supervalu and C&S, in which C&S allegedly agreed not to compete with Supervalu for wholesale grocery customers in the Midwest.  Plaintiffs claim that by doing so, Defendants violated Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and that as a result Plaintiffs and Class Members paid more than they should have in ABS fees. 

    Defendants have consistently denied the allegations that they engaged in any unlawful agreement with each other.  Defendants admit that they entered into an Asset Exchange Agreement (“AEA”) in 2003, in which Supervalu sold its New England wholesale grocery business to C&S in exchange for the former business of the Fleming Companies in Wisconsin and Ohio. Defendants maintain further that the AEA and related agreements helped improve the efficiency of their respective distribution networks and, therefore, their ability to continue to provide wholesale goods and services at competitive prices.

    A Settlement has been reached with Supervalu for members of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class. THIS SETTLEMENT ONLY AFFECTS THE CHAMPAIGN DC NON-ARBITRATION CLASS.

    In April 2018, a jury trial was held before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in the District of Minnesota for claims by the five Midwest Plaintiff classes defined below against the remaining Defendant C&S. On April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant C&S. On April 20, 2018, the Court entered judgment in favor of C&S. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

  • The Plaintiffs are asking for damages to recover the alleged overcharges in ABS fees that were paid to Supervalu as a result of Defendants’ alleged conspiracy. There has been no determination by the Court that there were, in fact, any overcharges by Supervalu.  The Plaintiffs’ claimed overcharge is measured by the percentage difference in allegedly inflated profit margins earned at a given DC as a result of the Defendants’ alleged collusion, multiplied by the quantity of ABS fees paid by an individual class member on purchases from that DC.

    Plaintiffs also seek treble damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees as allowed by law.

  • No. The deadline to submit a proof of claim against the Net Settlement Fund with Defendant Supervalu has expired, and those funds have been distributed to qualifying members of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class.

    There are no funds against which to recover for claims against C&S. As noted, on April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in C&S’s favor on the claims of the five Midwest Plaintiff Classes. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

  • The Court has certified five Classes.  You are included in one or more of them as a Class Member if you meet the descriptions below.

    • The Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class: All customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, and are located in the relevant geographic market, that paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu’s Champaign, Illinois DC from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008, and that did not have an arbitration agreement with Supervalu during that time. This class brought claims against Supervalu and C&S.
       
    • The Champaign DC Arbitration Class: All customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, and are located in the relevant geographic market, that paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu’s Champaign, Illinois DC from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008, and that had an arbitration agreement with Supervalu during that time. This class brought claims against C&S only.
    • The Green Bay DC Class: All customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, and are located in the relevant geographic market, that paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu's Green Bay, Wisconsin DC from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008. This class brought claims against C&S only.
    • The Hopkins DC Class: All customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, and are located in the relevant geographic market, that paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu’s Hopkins, Minnesota DC from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008. This class brought claims against C&S only.
    • The Pleasant Prairie DC Class: All customers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, and are located in the relevant geographic market, that paid ABS fees on wholesale grocery products in all four Supervalu ABS product categories (grocery, dairy, frozen, and general merchandise/health and beauty care) purchased directly from Supervalu’s Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin DC from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008. This class brought claims against C&S only.
  • Yes, the following persons and entities are excluded from all of the five Classes:

    • The Court and its officers, employees, and relatives;
    • Defendants and their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, shareholders, employees, and co-conspirators;
    • Government entities;
    • Any customer of either Defendant who, prior to C&S and Supervalu’s September 6, 2003 AEA, entered into a contract with either Defendant that established the prices (including upcharges) the customer would pay for wholesale grocery products and related services throughout the entire Class Period of December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008, and who did not amend or renegotiate the prices set in such contract during the Class Period;
    • Tops Friendly Markets, LLC and The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. (also known as A&P); or
    • Coborn’s, Inc. and Minter Weisman Co.
  • If you are not sure whether you are a member of any of the five Classes, contact the Notice Administrator.

  • No. A Settlement has been reached with Supervalu for members of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class. THIS SETTLEMENT ONLY AFFECTS THE CHAMPAIGN DC NON-ARBITRATION CLASS. Claim forms were mailed individually to each member of the Champaign Non-Arbitration DC on October 2, 2017 and were due by December 1, 2017. The settlement funds from the settlement with Defendant Supervalu were distributed pursuant to the distribution plan approved by the Court. See Important Documents.

    There are no funds against which to recover for claims against C&S. As noted, on April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in C&S’s favor on the claims of the five Midwest Plaintiff Classes. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

    You can always seek help from the Notice Administrator or Class Counsel at no charge.

  • You do not have to do anything now if you want to keep the possibility of getting money from this lawsuit.  By doing nothing you are staying in one or more of the Classes.  If you stay in and the Plaintiffs obtain money, either as a result of a trial or a settlement, you will be notified about how to apply for a share of the recovery (or how to ask to be excluded from any settlement).  You do not need to take action to stay in the class, and class counsel already has records of your purchases from Supervalu during the Class Period. However, if you still have records of your dealings with Supervalu or C&S from December 31, 2004 through September 13, 2008, please do not discard them. If your mailing address changes, please notify the Notice Administrator or Class Counsel.

    If you do nothing now and you stay in one or more of the Classes, regardless of whether the Plaintiffs win or lose the case, you will not be able to sue Supervalu or C&S, now or later, about the legal claims in this lawsuit.  You will be legally bound by the Court’s orders and judgments in this action.

  • To exclude yourself from this case, you must have submitted or postmarked a Request for Exclusion no later than July 1, 2017.

    Federal court rules limit the ability of Supervalu and C&S to discuss the lawsuit with you now that classes have been certified. Neither Supervalu nor C&S is permitted to seek to influence you in regard to your participation in the litigation. Your decision to remain in or exclude yourself from the litigation will not affect Supervalu or C&S’s business relationship with you in any way.

  • No.  If you stayed in this lawsuit, you gave up the right to separately sue the Defendants about the issues in this lawsuit.  You will be legally bound by the Court’s orders and judgments in this action.  You must have excluded yourself from the Class in order to sue the Defendants separately.

  • The Court appointed the firms and lawyers listed below and on the Class Counsel page as Co-Lead Class Counsel and Liaison Counsel in this case.  You may contact them about the case.

    Co-Lead Class Counsel and Liaison Counsel

    W. Joseph Bruckner
    Elizabeth R. Odette
    Kristen G. Marttila
    Kate M. Baxter-Kauf
    LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN P.L.L.P.


    100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 2200
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    Tel: (612) 339-6900
    Fax: (612) 339-0981

    wjbruckner@locklaw.com
    erodette@locklaw.com
    kgmarttila@locklaw.com
    kmbaxter-kauf@locklaw.com

    Co-Lead Class Counsel

    Richard B. Drubel
    Matthew J. Henken
    BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER LLP


    26 South Main Street
    Hanover, NH 03755
    Tel: (603) 643-9090
    Fax: (603) 643-9010

    rdrubel@bsfllp.com
    mhenken@bsfllp.com
    Daniel A. Kotchen
    Daniel L. Low
    KOTCHEN & LOW LLP


    1745 Kalorama Road NW, Suite 101
    Washington, DC 20009
    Tel: (202) 471-1995
    Fax: (202) 280-1128

    dkotchen@kotchen.com
    dlow@kotchen.com
  • You do not need to hire your own lawyer.  Class Counsel is working on your behalf.  But you may hire—and pay for—your own lawyer if you wish.  For example, you can ask your own lawyer to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.

  • If Class Counsel obtains money for the Classes, they will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of case-related expenses.  You will not have to pay these fees and expenses directly.  If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request, the fees and expenses would be paid directly by the Defendants or out of a common settlement fund obtained for the Classes.

  • In April 2018, a jury trial was held before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in the District of Minnesota for claims of the five Midwest Plaintiff Classes against Defendant C&S. On April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant C&S. On April 20, 2018, judgment was entered. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. There is no guarantee of the outcome of any post-trial motions or appeals following the trial or that Plaintiffs will get any additional money for the Classes. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

  • A Settlement has been reached with Supervalu for members of the Champaign DC Non-Arbitration Class. THIS SETTLEMENT ONLY AFFECTS THE CHAMPAIGN DC NON-ARBITRATION CLASS. Claim forms were mailed individually to each member of the Champaign Non-Arbitration DC on October 2, 2017 and were due by December 1, 2017. The settlement funds from the settlement with Defendant Supervalu were distributed pursuant to the distribution plan approved by the Court. See Important Documents.

    In April 2018, a jury trial was held before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in the District of Minnesota for claims of the five Midwest Plaintiff Classes against Defendant C&S. On April 19, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant C&S. On April 20, 2018, judgment was entered. Class Counsel for the five Midwest Plaintiff classes timely appealed the judgment and have requested a hearing by the Court of Appeals. Briefing on the appeal will conclude in Fall 2018. There is no guarantee of the outcome of any post-trial motions or appeals following the trial or that Plaintiffs will get any additional money for the Classes. You should check the website regularly for updates on the case.

  • Please visit the Important Documents page, where you will find several informative documents, including the Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order certifying the class, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, Defendants’ Answers to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, and information about how to exclude yourself from the Classes.  You should check this website regularly for updates on the case.  Also, copies of select judicial decisions, scheduling orders, counsel and other certain information about this case are available online at http://www.mnd.uscourts.gov/MDL-Wholesale/.

    You may also speak to Class Counsel using the contact information in Question 15 or on the Class Counsel page, or you may contact the Notice Administrator at 1-844-702-7322, by email on the Contact Us page, or in writing at: Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 6878, Broomfield, CO 80021.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 6878
Broomfield, CO 80021