If You Purchased Standard or King Size Single Serve Chocolate Candy Products for Re-Sale Purposes Directly From The Hershey Company, Hershey Canada, Inc., Mars, Incorporated, Mars Snackfood US, LLC or Nestlé U.S.A., Inc. in the United States or for Delivery into the United States Between December 9, 2002 and December 20, 2007, You Could Be Included in a Class Action Lawsuit. A court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Direct purchasers of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products have sued The Hershey Company, Hershey Canada, Inc., Mars, Incorporated, Mars Snackfood US, LLC, and Nestlé U.S.A., Inc. (collectively “Defendants”), claiming that the Defendants participated in a conspiracy to fix and raise the price of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products and overcharged customers. The case involves all brands of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products manufactured by Defendants, including brands such as Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar®, M&M’s®, and Nestlé Crunch Bar®.
The Court decided this lawsuit should be a class action on behalf of direct purchasers of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products for re-sale purposes.
Individuals who purchased standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products directly from Defendants for personal consumption and/or as gifts – as opposed to those who purchased for re-sale – are not included in the class.
The Defendants deny they did anything wrong, and the Court has not decided which side is right. There is no money available now, and no guarantee there will be. However, your legal rights are affected, and you have a choice to make now:
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT: Stay in this lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights. DO NOTHING
By doing nothing, you keep the possibility of getting money or benefits that may come from a trial or settlement. But, you give up any rights to sue the Defendants separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit. Get out of the lawsuit. Get no money from it. Keep rights.
ASK TO BE EXCLUDED
If you ask to be excluded from the class and money is later awarded, you won’t share in it. But you keep any rights to sue the Defendants separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit.
Your options are explained in this notice. To ask to be excluded, you must act before July 8, 2013.
If money is obtained from the Defendants, you will be notified about how to ask for a share
Any questions? Read on and visit www.ChocolateDirectClass.com. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.CHOCOLATEDIRECTCLASS.COM 1
WHAT THIS NOTICE CONTAINS [TABLE OF CONTENTS TO BE INSERTED]
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1. Why did I get this notice package? You or your company may have purchased standard or King size single serve chocolate candy products for re-sale purposes in the United States directly from one or more of the Defendants between December 9, 2002 and December 20, 2007. This notice explains that the Court has allowed, or “certified,” a class action lawsuit that may affect you. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise. Judge Christopher C. Conner of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as In re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:08-mdl-01935.
2. What is this lawsuit about? This lawsuit is about whether the Defendants conspired to fix and raise the price of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products and overcharged customers who purchased standard or King size single serve chocolate candy products directly from Defendants for purposes of re-sale.
3. Why is this a class action? In a class action, one or more individuals or companies called class representatives (in this case Card & Party Mart II Ltd., Jones Vend and OCS Distributing, Inc., PITCO Foods, and The Lorain Novelty Co., Inc.) sue on behalf of others who have similar claims. All of the other individuals or companies who have similar claims are a “class” or “class members.” The people who sued—and all of the class members—are called the Plaintiffs. The companies they sued are called the Defendants. One court will resolve the issues for everyone who remains in the class.
4. Who are the Defendants? The Defendants are The Hershey Company, Hershey Canada, Inc., Mars, Incorporated, Mars Snackfood US, LLC, and Nestlé U.S.A., Inc.
5. Why is this lawsuit a class action? The Court decided that this lawsuit can be a class action and move towards a trial because it meets the requirements of the rules that govern class actions in federal courts. Specifically, the Court found that:
There are at least 2,900 direct purchasers of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products for re-sale from the Defendants;
There are legal questions and facts that are common to each class member;
The class representatives’ claims are typical of the claims of the rest of the class;
The class representatives and the lawyers representing the class will fairly and adequately represent the class’ interests;
The common legal questions and facts are more important than questions that affect only individuals; and
This Class Action will be more efficient than having many individual lawsuits.
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More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to be a class action is in the Court’s Order Certifying the Class, which is available at www.ChocolateDirectClass.com.
THE CLAIMS IN THE LAWSUIT 6. What does the lawsuit claim? In the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs claim that the Defendants conspired to fix, raise, maintain, or stabilize prices of standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products. They claim that this violated the antitrust laws of the United States. They also say that the conspiracy resulted in purchasers being overcharged for single and King size single serve chocolate candy products. You can learn more about the lawsuit at www.ChocolateDirectClass.com.
7. How do the Defendants answer? The Defendants deny they did anything wrong or illegal.
8. Has the Court decided who is right? The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiffs or the Defendants are correct. By establishing the class and issuing this Notice, the Court is not suggesting that the Plaintiffs will win or lose this case.
9. What are the Plaintiffs asking for? The class seeks to recover money for people and entities who bought standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products for re-sale directly from the Defendants in the United States or for delivery into the United States.
10. Is there any money available now? No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not yet decided whether the Defendants did anything wrong, and the two sides have not settled the case. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained from the Defendants. If money or benefits are obtained from the Defendants for the class, you will be notified.
WHO IS IN THE CLASS You need to decide whether you are affected by this lawsuit.
11. Am I part of the Class? You are included in the class if you or your company made at least one purchase: Of a standard or King size single serve chocolate candy product for re-sale purposes, Directly from one of the Defendants, From December 9, 2002 to December 20, 2007, and In the U.S. or for delivery into the U.S. You are not included in the class if: Your purchase of a standard or King size single serve chocolate candy product was not made directly from Defendants (for instance, purchases from a supermarket, drug store, convenience store, or vending machine are not included); or
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Your purchase of a standard or King size single serve chocolate candy product directly from the Defendants was not made for re-sale purposes, but instead was made for personal consumption or as a gift; or You are a Defendant (including the parent company, subsidiary, or an affiliate of a Defendant); or You are a government entity; or You are one of the following entities: Meijer, Inc.; Meijer Distribution, Inc.; Publix Supermarkets, Inc.; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; Rite Aid Corporation; Rite Aid Headquarters Corp; Longs Drug Stores California, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; Safeway, Inc.; Walgreen Co.; Hy-Vee, Inc.; Giant Eagle, Inc.; Affiliated Foods, Inc.; Food Lion, LLC; Hannaford Bros. Co.; Kash N’ Karry Food Stores, Inc.; HEB Grocery Company, LP; Albertson’s LLC; Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P); Supervalu Inc.; Golub Corp. d/b/a Price Chopper; Brookshire Grocery Co.; or United Supermarkets LLC.
12. I’m still not sure if I am included. If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help at www.ChocolateDirectClass.com, 1-888972-6584 or by calling or writing to the lawyers in this case, at the phone number or address listed in question 16.
YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS You have to decide whether to stay in the class or ask to be excluded, and you have to decide this now.
13. What happens if I do nothing at all? You do not have to do anything now if you want to keep the possibility of getting money from this lawsuit. By doing nothing, you are staying in the class. If you stay in and the Plaintiffs obtain money, either as a result of a trial or a settlement, you will be notified about how to apply for a share. Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, regardless of whether the Plaintiffs win or lose the trial, you will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, the Defendants—as part of any other lawsuit—for damages related to standard and King size single serve chocolate candy products purchased for re-sale directly from the Defendants in the United States or for delivery into the United States between December 9, 2002 and December 20, 2007. You will also be legally bound by all of Court’s orders and judgments concerning liability and damages in this class action.
14. Why would I ask to be excluded from the class? If you exclude yourself (opt out) from the class, you will not get any money from this lawsuit if the Plaintiffs are successful in obtaining money from the Defendants as a result of a trial or a settlement. However, you may then be able to sue or continue to sue the Defendants for damages related to standard or King size single serve chocolate candy products that were purchased at any time. If you exclude yourself from the class, you will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments concerning liability and damages in this class action. If you start your own lawsuit against the Defendants after you exclude yourself, you will have to hire a lawyer at your own expense and prove your claims.
15. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the class? To ask to be excluded from the class, you must send an “Exclusion Request” in the form of a letter sent by mail, stating that you want to be excluded from In re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation. Be sure to include your name and address, and sign the letter. You must mail your Exclusion Request postmarked by
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July 8, 2013 to: Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Administrator, c/o Heffler Claims Group, P.O. Box 58549, Philadelphia, PA 19105‐8549.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU 16. Do I have a lawyer in this case? The Court decided that the law firms of Berger & Montague, P.C. and Hausfeld LLP are qualified to represent you and all class members. Together the law firms are called “Class Counsel.” They are experienced in handling similar cases. More information about these law firms, their practices, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.bergermontague.com and www.hausfeldllp.com. The contact information for the lawyers is below: H. Laddie Montague, Jr. Ruthanne Gordon BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C. 1622 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 Tel: (215) 875-3000 E-mail: [email protected] [email protected]
Michael D. Hausfeld Hilary K. Scherrer HAUSFELD LLP 1700 K Street NW, Suite 650 Washington, DC 20006 Tel: (202) 540-7156 E-mail: [email protected] [email protected]
17. Should I get my own lawyer? You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you may have to pay that lawyer. If you do hire your own lawyer, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
18. How will the lawyers be paid? If Class Counsel get money for the class from the Defendants, they will ask the Court for fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request, the fees and expenses would be either deducted from any money obtained for the class or paid separately by the Defendants.
19. How and when will the Court decide who is right? As long as the case is not resolved by a settlement or otherwise, Class Counsel will have to prove the Plaintiffs’ claims at a trial. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win, or that they will get any money for the class.
20. Will I get money after a trial? If the Plaintiffs obtain money from the Defendants as a result of the trial or a settlement, you will be notified about how to participate. We do not know how long this will take.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
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21. Are more details available? Visit the website, www.ChocolateDirectClass.com, where you will find the Court’s Order Certifying the Class and other information about this lawsuit. You may also call 1-888-972-6584 or write to: Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Administrator, c/o Heffler Claims Group, P.O. Box 58549, Philadelphia, PA 19105‐8549.
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