Judge limits tuna antitrust suits but allows them to proceed

A California judge has limited the arguments that consumers alleging price-fixing in the packaged seafood industry can use in their lawsuits against the major US tuna canners.

Lawyers for Thai Union Group, the owner of Chicken of the Sea, Dongwon Industries' Starkist, and Lion Capital's Bumble Bee Foods, all argued before judge Janis Sammartino that class action lawsuits alleging long-running collusion between the companies should be dismissed, in part because the plaintiffs don't have enough evidence, they said,

The judge declined to toss the suits, which come from the US's major grocers and retailers, distributors and end consumers, but agreed to limit them, partially granting the canners' motions to dismiss.

Limits on allegations

Specifically, she said that plaintiffs' claim that the canners conspired to “raise, fix, stabilize, or maintain prices in the market for shelf-stable packaged seafood”, a market they defined as including tuna, clams, crab, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, and shrimp should be limited to tuna.

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