Wesson Oil Settlement Overturned By The Court of Appeals Because It ‘Reeks of Collusion’
The Court of Appeals has invalidated a class action settlement (Robert Briseño settlement) between consumers and ConAgra Foods Inc. over suspecting collusion. The lawsuit resulted from Wesson cooking oil products that were red-flagged for being 100% natural.
Class Action Settlement
According to reports, the Briseño settlement over ConAgra’s labeling on Wesson’s Natural cooking oil products was overturned by a Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday, which said in its published judgment that the accord “reeks of collusion.”
As per the claims, ConAgra Foods deceptively marketed its Wesson brand vegetable oils as “100% natural,” despite the fact that they were made from genetically modified plants and organisms. The settlement was originally filed for approval in 2019 to settle the claims.
When the settlement was faced with various appeals in 2020, consumers had already started filing for their refunds under the agreement. Payments for settlements are not made until all appeals have been exhausted.
Refunds appear to be on hold indefinitely until the settlement is finalized. In addition, the deal had a number of problematic aspects, according to the Ninth Circuit panel, including $6.85 million in legal fees, which dwarfed the amount going to consumers.
According to the reports, ConAgra paid out less than $8 million in total, with only $1 million going to the class. Class Members who presented a valid approved claim were to get only 15 cents for each unit of Wesson Oil Product purchased.
According to the Court of Appeals panel, the fact that the counsel fees were so much higher than the consumer payout raised the likelihood that Class counsel conspired with ConAgra to reduce the total settlement in exchange for a higher attorney fee award.
Additionally, they claimed that a defendant would agree to such a settlement because they don’t care how the money is split; all they worry about is paying as little as possible.
When determining whether a settlement is fair, district courts should look at how much attorneys are paying themselves in fees, according to the panel. The matter will now be heard in federal court in California.
Editor’s Note on Robert Briseño Settlement’s Updates 2021:
This article is published to inform you of the latest settlement to be made by Wesson Oil. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals has invalidated the settlement due to the counsel fees being so much higher than the consumer payout.
The Briseño Settlement Case Details:
Case Name & No.: Robert Briseño et al. v. ConAgra Foods Inc., Case No. 19-56297, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Products/Services: Settlement’s Payouts
Allegations: The settlement was invalidated due to unfair counsel fees
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