CHICAGO, July 28, 2004 Read all today’s legal news, law news releases & law research at LAWFUEL– Chicago-based law firm, Much Shelist
announced today that a settlement has been reached with A.E. Staley
Manufacturing Company (“Staley”), the last defendant in the high fructose corn
syrup price fixing class action. Staley reached a settlement with the
plaintiff class for $100 million, pending final court approval
from the Honorable Michael M. Mihm, United States District Court for the
Central District of Illinois-Peoria Division.
This brings total settlements to date to $531 million making it one of the nation’s largest antitrust class action settlements. Co-defendant Archer Daniels Midland Company settled in June of this year for $400 million and earlier this year Cargill Incorporated and American Maize-Products settled for $24 million, leaving Staley as the
sole defendant. CPC International settled for $7 million in 1996. Trial
was scheduled to begin in September.
The plaintiff class is composed of approximately 2,000 food and beverage
makers, including PepsiCo Inc. and Coca-Cola Co., who purchased the high
fructose corn syrup from one or more of the defendants. The plaintiffs alleged
that, beginning in the late 1980s, the defendants conspired with each other to
illegally inflate the price of the sweetener, a common ingredient in countless
Michael J. Freed, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs and senior partner in
Much Shelist’s class action litigation practice stated, “This case lasted
9 years and was marked by 3 trips to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and
2 trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result of the efforts of class
plaintiffs and their counsel, the total settlement amount is one of the top
5 largest antitrust class action settlements ever achieved and represents
the recovery of well over 40% of potential damages, which is an exceptionally
high recovery in a case of this type.” Freed is no stranger to high-stakes
class actions. He was co-lead counsel in a price fixing class action involving
brand name prescription drug manufacturers and wholesalers. That case resulted
in settlements totaling $715 million in 1998.
“We are proud of our firm’s leadership, commitment, and achievements in
pursuing antitrust class cases for more than 30 years on behalf of our clients
and class members. There are very few firms in the Country that have a success
record that rivals ours,” says David T. Brown, Much Shelist’s managing
Freed stated that the victorious prosecution of this class action is
accredited to the consortium of legal teams that together worked tirelessly
over the years to bring this to a successful close. A number of Much Shelist
attorneys assisted, special recognition goes to Much Shelist principal, Barat
S. McClain, and paralegals, Mary Lou Gassinger and Christine Ceja-Rager who
spent a majority of their time working on this class action. Also, special
recognition goes to co-lead counsel: Robert N. Kaplan and Gregory K. Arenson
of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, LLP, and H. Laddie Montague, Jr. and Charles P.
Goodwin of Berger & Montague, P.C.
For more information or to speak with any of the attorneys mentioned
above, contact Juliana Villacorta, Media Relations, at 312.521.2122 or via
email at [email protected] , or Stephanie Hall at 312.521.2120 or
via email at [email protected] .
Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein, P.C., established in
1970, is a Chicago-based law firm with over 80 attorneys. The firm has
substantial experience and a national reputation litigating consumer,
antitrust, and securities class actions. Additionally, the firm offers a wide
range of business services including: bankruptcy reorganization and creditors’
rights, business litigation, corporate finance and securities, corporate law,
e-commerce/Internet, employee benefits, health care, intellectual property,
labor and employment, real estate, secured lending, taxation and business
planning, and wealth transfer and succession planning. Clients include small
and midsized businesses, financial institutions, public and private companies,
families, and high-net-worth individuals.