Welcome to the Iowa School Food Litigation
INFORMATION TO CLASS MEMBERS
WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?
Plaintiffs Duane Smith of 432 N. 11th Pl., Adel, IA 50003, and Brooke Smith of 16330 O Ave., Bouton, IA 50039, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, in a lawsuit pending in the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Case No. CVCV036641, claim that Iowa Educators Corporation ("IEC"), its successor, The Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing ("IAEP"), and Martin Brothers Distributing Company, Inc. ("Martin Brothers"), conspired to restrain competition in the market for the retail sale of food at schools in Iowa and that Martin Brothers attempted to monopolize that market in violation of Iowa antitrust laws. Among other things, Plaintiffs seek a determination that the case may be maintained as a class action; a declaration that the Plaintiffs be the representative of the class and that their counsel be counsel for the class; a declaration of the unlawfulness of the alleged conduct, in violation of the Iowa antitrust laws and the common laws of civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment; recovery of actual and exemplary damages; recovery of the amounts by which the Defendants allegedly were unjustly enriched; injunction against the continuation of the alleged illegal activities; and recovery of the Plaintiffs' and the class' costs of suit including reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses.
Defendants deny they did anything wrong. Defendants assert that the bidding for school food service distribution was fair and appropriate and that they have reached a settlement to avoid the costs and delays associated with litigation. The Court has not decided who is right and who is wrong.
WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENTS?
Martin Brothers has agreed to pay $1,925,000 to pay the claims of Class Members and to cover attorneys' fees and costs and incentive awards for the Class Representatives, plus will separately pay one half of the actual costs of Notice to the Class and the full costs of administering the Settlement. Class Members may receive up to $3.50 per student per year that they attended an IEC-member school, up to a maximum of $50.00 per student. While neither the IEC nor IAEP maintains cash reserves to fund a substantial judgment, the IEC and IAEP have separately agreed to injunctive relief that requires changes to the IAEP contract bidding process as well as requires information regarding pricing to be made publicly available. Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants are released with the exception of claims for personal injury, product liability or breach of warranty. The IEC and IAEP, through their insurer, will also make payments totaling $150,000 to cover certain costs, including one half of the actual costs of Notice to the Class, a portion of attorneys' fees and costs, and incentive awards. Each of the settlements is contingent on the Court's final approval of that proposed settlement. For more details, call or write to the Settlement Administrator here.
ARE YOU AFFECTED?
You are a member of the Settlement Class if you paid for food, between January 1, 2000 and August 1, 2014, at an Iowa-based school that, at the time of payment, (i) was a member of the Iowa Educators Corporation (IEC) or The Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing (IAEP), and (ii) had one or more grades from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. A list of the member schools is available here.
WHAT ARE MY LEGAL RIGHTS?
Settlement Class Members shall be entitled to and will be bound by the terms of equitable and injunctive relief set forth in the Settlement Agreement with the IEC and Injunction Order governing the IEC's conduct and shall not be permitted to opt out of the Settlement with the IEC. Settlement Class Members shall be entitled to and will be bound by the terms of the Martin Brothers Settlement, but are permitted to opt out of the Settlement with Martin Brothers. Settlement Class Members may submit a claim form to receive appropriate compensation under the Settlement with Martin Brothers as explained in the more detailed notice. To object to or comment upon the settlements, you must file your written statement with the Clerk of the Court, and serve copies on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel, by October 3, 2014. Claims or opt-outs of the Martin Brothers Settlement must be submitted to the Settlement Administrator by September 30, 2014 and September 15, 2014, respectively. A detailed notice containing more information is available to you by calling (888) 223-8707 or by visiting the Case Documents page. The detailed notice explains the requirements to make any objection, submit a claim, or opt out.
Please note the following important dates:
|Case Relevant Event
|Exclusion Deadline (Martin Brothers Settlement only)
||September 15, 2014
|Claim Filing Deadline
||September 30, 2014
||October 3, 2014
|Final Approval Hearing
||November 4, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.