Menu Foods, and others have agreed to a settlement of $24 million as a result of the massive pet food recall last year...
Menu Foods, other pet food makers and retailers involved in last year’s massive pet food recall will set up a $24 million cash fund to compensate pet owners, according to a proposed settlement filed Thursday in federal court.
The fund is expected to compensate thousands of pet owners in the U.S. and Canada who bought recalled pet foods made by Menu and 11 others. The products had a contaminated ingredient from China that sickened dogs and cats.
The $24 million is in addition to $8 million that pet food makers have already paid to pet owners. Legal fees and expenses, which haven’t been determined, will come out of the fund. The settlement, negotiated over the past seven months, would resolve more than 100 lawsuits by more than 250 plaintiffs brought in the U.S. and a dozen in Canada.
The vast majority of the fund will go to pet owners whose pets were injured or died as a result of kidney failure, which was linked to the contaminant discovered in some of the recalled pet food.
Damages supported by documentation, such as veterinary receipts, may be paid in full. Claimants also could get $900 per claim for undocumented losses, according to the agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
The settlement requires that eligible claimants’ dogs or cats ate a pet food recalled between March 16, 2007, and now. Coverable expenses include veterinary bills, pet food costs, burial costs, replacement pet costs, property damage and lost wages to care for sick animals.
The fund includes only $250,000 to compensate pet owners for food purchases, because most people have already been reimbursed for recalled pet food. Another $400,000 is allocated for people who had pets screened that were found to be healthy.
In addition to Menu, defendants include pet-food makers Del Monte, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Iams; retailers such as Wal-Mart and importers ChemNutra and Wilbur-Ellis.
Once it is approved, the settlement will be widely publicized. A toll-free number and website will be set up to disburse information.
The agreement also requires that pet food makers test wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate for melamine, which pet food makers already say they are doing, and continue other quality-control steps.Read the rest at USA Today.
Here’s the statement from Menu Foods. . .
May 22, 2008 — Parties in the U.S. Pet Food Recall Multi-District Litigation, including Menu Foods, have now filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and
executed Settlement Agreement and a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. Similar filings will be made in the Canadian courts.
The Settlement Agreement will create a Settlement Fund of US$24 million that will allow a potential recovery of up to 100% of all economic damages related to the pet food recall that were incurred by pet owners and persons who purchased recalled pet food in the United States and in Canada, subject to several limitations. The Settlement Fund will be administered by a neutral third party claims administrator appointed by the court.
The U.S. hearing on the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement remains scheduled for May 30, 2008, at 9:30 a.m., at the U.S. Courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, before the Hon. Noel Hillman.
Pet owners with potential claims should not contact Menu Foods. If and when the settlement agreement and claims process receive final approval, Menu Foods will post on its website contact information for the claims administrator of the Settlement Fund.