HILSLEY v. OCEAN SPRAY CRANBERRIES

Case No. 3:17-cv-2335-GPC(MDD)

US District Court for the Southern District of California

BASIC INFO

Why Did I Receive This Notice?
If you are a United States resident or citizen who purchased one of the Products during the Class Period in your state, for personal or household use and not for resale or distribution, then you have a right to know about a proposed settlement in this class action lawsuit and your options.

You also may have received this Notice because you requested more information after reading the Summary Notice about the Settlement.

The Court ordered that you be given this Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit and your options in relation to that lawsuit before the Court decides whether to give its final approval to the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator approved by the Court will oversee the distribution of the Settlement Fund.

This Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

What is This Lawsuit About?
The Plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit allege that Ocean Spray’s Product labels claiming to contain “No Artificial Flavors” are false and misleading because the Products contain the artificial flavoring ingredients dl-malic acid and/or fumaric acid, which Plaintiffs claim function as flavors in the Products.

Ocean Spray denies the allegations in the lawsuit, and the Court has not made any ruling on the merits of the lawsuit. To avoid the expense of further litigation, the parties have reached a settlement that is further described in this Notice.

What is a Class Action and Who is Involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case Crystal Hilsley and William Riley) represent the interests of similarly situated people who may have the same claims in common, but have not filed a lawsuit. All of these people are collectively referred to as a class. The persons who filed the lawsuit are called the Plaintiffs. The company or persons they sue is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the class.
Why is There a Proposed Settlement?
The Court has not decided in favor of either side. Ocean Spray denies all allegations in the lawsuit. Ocean Spray is settling simply to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and inherent risk of litigation, as well as the related disruption to its business. The Plaintiffs and their attorneys assert that the proposed Settlement is in the best interests of the Class because it provides an appropriate recovery now while avoiding the risk, expense, and delay of pursuing a lawsuit through trial and any appeals. There would be no guarantee of success for either side if the lawsuit were pursued through trial and any appeals.

WHO IS COVERED

How Do I Know If I am Part of the Proposed Settlement?
You are a part of the Settlement Class if you are a United States resident or citizen who purchased the Products in your state between January 1, 2011 and January 31, 2020 (the “Class Period”). The Products must have been purchased for personal or household use and not for resale or distribution.

You are not a part of the Settlement Class if you are (1) any judicial officer presiding over the lawsuit; (2) Ocean Spray, its subsidiaries, parent companies, successors, predecessors, and any entity in which Ocean Spray or its parent company has a controlling interest, and each of their current or former officers, directors, and employees; (3) legal representatives, successors, or assigns of any excluded person; and (4) any person who properly executes and files a timely request for exclusion.

The Products covered include:

  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Apple™
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Grape™
  • Ocean Spray® “100% Apple” Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Raspberry™
  • Ocean Spray® Wave™ Apple with White Cranberries
  • Ocean Spray® Wave™ Berry Medley
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Cherry™
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Pineapple™
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Pomegranate™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Pomegranate™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Cherry™
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Cherry Flavor
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Strawberry™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cranberry with Lime
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Lemonade™
  • Ocean Spray® Classic Tea White Cranberry Peach
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Tea™ White Cranberry Peach
  • Ocean Spray® Classic Tea Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Tea™ Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Premium Juice Cranberry Apple
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Cranberry Concord Grape
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Raspberry
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Pomegranate
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Tropical Citrus Fruit & Vegetable
  • Ocean Spray® Light Tropical Citrus Fruit & Vegetable
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Pomegranate Blueberry Fruit & Vegetable
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Cranberry Passionfruit Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Mango
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Light Cran-Mango™
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Ruby Pomegranate
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Tea™
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Pineapple
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Pineapple™
  • Ocean Spray® Mocktails Tropical Citrus
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-America™
  • Ocean Spray® Pink Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Cranharvest™ Cranberry Apple Cider
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Raspberry™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Apple™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Grape™
  • Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cranenergy™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Ruby Red
  • Ocean Spray® New Light 50 Cranberry Grape
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Citrus Tangerine
  • Ocean Spray® Cranenergy™ Sparkling Diet Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Ruby Cherry
  • Ocean Spray® Cherry Juice Cocktail
  • Ocean Spray® Cranenergy™ Sparkling Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Pink Cranberry Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Pom Blue Sparkling Beverage
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Pom Blue Sparkling Beverage
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Diet Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Cran-Raspberry™
  • Ocean Spray® Sparkling Cran-Grape™
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Lemonade™
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Mango™
  • Ocean Spray® Ruby Cranberry
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Citrus Tangerine Orange
  • Ocean Spray® 100% Citrus Mango Pineapple
  • Ocean Spray® Cran-Tropical™ Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray® Light Cranberry Apple
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Mango™
  • Ocean Spray® Light Ruby Red
  • Ocean Spray® Blueberry Juice Cocktail
  • Ocean Spray® Blueberry Pomegranate
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry Pomegranate
  • Ocean Spray® Light Cran-Pomegranate™
  • Ocean Spray® Raspberry Cranenergy™
  • Ocean Spray® New Light 50 Cranberry Raspberry
  • Ocean Spray® Pomegranate Cranenergy™
  • Ocean Spray® Wave ™ Mango Pineapple
  • Ocean Spray® Diet Cran-Blackberry™

If you are still not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can go to documents section of this website, or you can call 1-855-873-3742, and ask for free help.

BENEFITS

What Does the Proposed Settlement Provide?

Settlement Fund

The proposed settlement will provide for $5,400,000.00 to be paid into a Settlement Fund.

The Settlement Fund shall be applied to pay the following amounts in full and in the order listed:
(1) any necessary taxes and tax expenses;
(2) all costs associated with the Settlement Administration, including costs of providing notice to members of the Settlement Class and processing Claims and all costs relating to providing the necessary notices in accordance with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. Section 1715;
(3) any Fee and Expense Award made by the Court to Class Counsel;
(4) any Incentive Awards made by the Court to the Plaintiffs; and
(5) payments to Authorized Claimants and any others if approved by the Court.

The Settlement Fund represents the limit and extent of Ocean Spray’s monetary obligations under the Settlement Agreement.

Payments to Settlement Class Members who Submit a Valid Claim Form

Settlement Class members who submit a timely and valid Claim will receive $1.00 in cash from the Settlement Fund per bottle purchased (any size), up to 20 bottles, limited to one claim per household (total payable per household in no event to exceed $20, unless distribution is increased as described below).

If the amount of valid claims timely submitted by class members exceeds the amount in the Settlement Fund, cash payments to class members who submit timely and valid claims will be proportionately reduced until the funds remaining in the Settlement Fund are exhausted. If the amount of valid claims timely submitted by class members does not exhaust the amount in the Settlement Fund after payment of Notice and Settlement Administrator expenses, a Fee and Expense Award, any necessary taxes, tax expenses, Incentive Awards, and the total amount of all Authorized Claims, cash payments to class members will increase proportionately until the funds remaining in the Settlement Fund are exhausted.

Non-Monetary Relief

Within 12 months after the Final Approval Effective Date, Ocean Spray will discontinue manufacturing the Products that contain the artificial versions of malic acid and/or fumaric acid as an ingredient with labels that contain the claim “no artificial flavors,” provided Ocean Spray will be permitted to exhaust existing label stock purchased, printed, or ordered prior to the Final Approval Effective Date.

Incentive Award to the Plaintiffs

Subject to Court approval, Class Counsel is seeking an Incentive Award from the Settlement Fund to the Plaintiffs as follows: $9,000.00 to Plaintiff Crystal Hilsley and $1,000.00 to Plaintiff William Riley.

How Can I Obtain a Portion of The Settlement?
Settlement Class members who wish to receive a portion of the Settlement Fund must fully complete and submit a Claim Form, along with any supporting documentation, by July 10, 2020.

You can submit a Claim Form online. Online claim forms must be submitted by July 10, 2020.

Alternatively, you may submit your Claim Form by mailing it to the following address:
No Artificial Flavors Litigation
c/o Classaura Class Action Administration,
1718 Peachtree St NW #1080,
Atlanta, GA 30309

Mailed claim Forms must be postmarked no later than July 10, 2020.

Settlement Class Members who have complied with the instructions, requirements, and deadline for submitting a Claim, and whose Claims have been reviewed and validated by the Settlement Administrator, will be paid from the Settlement Fund within forty five (45) days of the Effective Date of the Settlement.

TO BE VALID, ALL CLAIM FORMS MUST BE POSTMARKED OR SUBMITTED ONLINE BY NO LATER THAN JULY 10, 2020.

How Can I Obtain a Claim Form
You can obtain a Claim Form in one of three ways:

i. Online: You can download the Claim Form in the documents section of this website. You can also submit a Claim Form online through this website.

ii. By Phone: Call toll-free, 1-855-873-3742 to arrange for a Claim Form to be sent to you by either U.S. mail or e-mail.

iii. By U.S. Mail: You may write to No Artificial Flavor Litigation, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309.

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE CLASS

How Do I Exclude Myself From the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must either: (1) send a written request for exclusion that must be received no later than July 1, 2020, to: No Artificial Flavor Litigation, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309, or (2) submit a Request for Exclusion online through the Settlement Website no later than July 1, 2020.

Your Request for Exclusion must contain: (1) the name of the lawsuit, “Hilsley v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Case Number: 3:17-CV-2335-GPC-MDD”; (2) your full name, current address, and telephone number; (3) a clear statement of intention to exclude yourself such as “I wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class”; and (4) your signature.

You may also get an Exclusion Request Form in the documents section of this website or fill out an < a href=""/optout/>online opt out form. You cannot exclude yourself by telephone or by e-mail.

Your Request for Exclusion must be on behalf of yourself. You may not include multiple persons on a single Request for Exclusion.

If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any payment from the Settlement Fund, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Settlement or this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Ocean Spray in the future.

If I Don’t Exclude Myself, Can I Sue Ocean Spray Later?
If you do not properly and timely submit a Request for Exclusion, you waive your right to opt out, you will be deemed to be a member of the Settlement Class, you give up the right to sue Ocean Spray for the claims the Settlement resolves, and you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement Agreement. If you have a pending lawsuit against Ocean Spray, other than this lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, any Request for Exclusion must be signed, mailed, and postmarked no later than July 1, 2020.
If I Exclude Myself, Can I Get a Payment from the Settlement Fund?
No. If you exclude yourself, you are not eligible for any payment from the Settlement Fund.

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

How Do I Tell the Court that I Object to the Proposed Settlement?
If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlement. In doing so, you must give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it, and the Court will consider your views.

To object, you must send a letter that contains the following:

(i) a reference, in its first sentence, to this lawsuit, Hilsley v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Case No. 3:17-CV-2335-GPC-MDD;

(ii) Your full, legal name, residential address, telephone number, and email address (and your lawyer’s name, business address, telephone number and email address if you are objecting through counsel);

(iii) a statement describing your membership in the Settlement Class, including a verification under oath as to the date, name of the Products purchased, and the location and name of the retailer from whom you purchased the Products, and all other information required by the Claim Form;

(iv) a written statement of all grounds for the Objection, accompanied by any legal support for such Objection;

(v) copies of any papers, briefs, or other documents upon which the Objection is based;

(vi) a list of all persons who will be called to testify in support of the Objection;

(vii) a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and if you are objecting through counsel, you must also state the identity of all attorneys who will appear at the Final Approval Hearing on your behalf;

(viii) a list of the exhibits you will offer during the Final Approval Hearing, along with copies of such exhibits; and

(ix) your signature.

In addition, if applicable, you must include with your Objection (i) the identity of all counsel who represent you, including former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason related to the Objection; (ii) a detailed list of any other objections you or your counsel have submitted to any other class actions submitted in any court, whether state or federal, in the United States, in the previous five (5) years.

If you choose to object through a lawyer, you must pay for the lawyer yourself.

Your Objection must be signed and mailed to the Court, along with any supporting documents, so that it is received no later than July 1, 2020 by the Court at:

Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court Southern District of California
330 W. Broadway San Diego, CA 92101

A copy of your Objection must also be signed and mailed, along with any supporting documents to the Settlement Administrator and each of the following two addresses, so that is received by each of them no later than July 1, 2020:

Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class
Ronald A. Marron
LAW OFFICES OF RONALD A. MARRON
651 Arroyo Drive San Diego, CA 92103
Email: ron@consumersadvocates.com

Counsel for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
Rick L. Shackelford
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP
1840 Century Park East, Suite 1900 Los Angeles, CA 90067
Email: ShackelfordR@gtlaw.com

What’s the Difference Between Objecting and Excluding?
Objecting is explaining to the Court why you do not believe it should approve the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class.

Excluding yourself from the Settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you will not be eligible to file an Objection or to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.

APPEARING IN THE LAWSUIT

Can I Appear or Speak in the lawsuit About the Proposed Settlement?
As long as you do not exclude yourself, you can (but do not have to) participate and speak for yourself in the lawsuit about the proposed Settlement. This is called making an appearance. You can also have your own lawyer appear in court and speak for you, but you must pay for the lawyer yourself.
How Can I Appear in this lawsuit?
If you want yourself or your own lawyer (instead of Class Counsel) to participate or speak for you in this lawsuit, you must file a “Notice of Appearance” with the Court. The Notice of Appearance must contain the title of this lawsuit, a statement that you wish to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and the signature of you or your lawyer.

Your Notice of Appearance can also state that you or your lawyer would like to speak at the Court’s Final Approval Hearing on the proposed Settlement. If you submit an Objection (see Question 12 above) and would like to speak about the Objection at the Court’s Final Approval Hearing, both your Notice of Appearance and your Objection should include that information.

Your Notice of Appearance must be signed, mailed, and postmarked by July 1, 2020, to the Court at:

Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court Southern District of California
330 W. Broadway San Diego, CA 92101

Copies of your Notice of Appearance must also be mailed to each of the individuals at the same two addresses below.

Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class
Ronald A. Marron
LAW OFFICES OF RONALD A. MARRON
651 Arroyo Drive San Diego, CA 92103
Email: ron@consumersadvocates.com

Counsel for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
Rick L. Shackelford
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP
1840 Century Park East, Suite 1900 Los Angeles, CA 90067
Email: ShackelfordR@gtlaw.com

IF YOU DO NOTHING

What Happens If I Do Nothing at All?
If you do nothing, you will get no payment from the Settlement Fund. But unless you timely excluded yourself, you also will not be able to start a new lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Ocean Spray about the subject matter of this lawsuit ever again.

LAWYERS THAT REPRESENT YOU

Do I Have a Lawyer in this Case?
Class Counsel has not yet received any payment for prosecuting this lawsuit, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. When they ask the Court to approve the Settlement, Class Counsel will also make a motion to the Court to approve and award attorneys’ fees and a reimbursement of expenses to Class Counsel, in a total amount of up to 33.33% of the $5,400,000.00 Settlement Fund. No matter what the Court decides with regard to the requested attorneys’ fees, members of the Settlement Class will never have to pay anything toward the fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Class Counsel will seek final approval of the Settlement on behalf of all members of the Settlement Class. You may hire your own lawyer to represent you in this lawsuit if you wish, but it will be at your own expense.
How Will the Lawyers be Paid?

If Class Counsel recovers any money for the Class, they will ask the Court for payment of their fees and reimbursement of their litigation costs. You will not have to pay these fees and expenses out of your own pocket. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request, the fees and expenses will be deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by Defendant.

FINAL APPROVAL HEARING

When and Where Will the Court Decide Whether to Approve the Settlement?
The Court overseeing this case will hold a Final Approval Hearing at the Federal Courthouse located at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, 330 W. Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 on July 31, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 2D to decide whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, as well as to determine the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs and incentive fees to award. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at the Final Approval Hearing. After the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement and whether to grant Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses. We do not know how long it will take the Court to make these decisions.
Do I Have to Come to the Hearing?

You are not required to attend the hearing, but you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you send an Objection, you do not have to appear in Court to present it. As long as you mailed your written Objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

FINAL APPROVAL

What is the Effect of Final Settlement Approval?
If the Court grants final approval of the Settlement and all appeals have been exhausted, the Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement), including Ocean Spray, will be released of and from any and all claims asserted or which could have been asserted in the Litigation involving allegations of misleading statements or misrepresentations concerning the Products, including, without limitation, arising from, under or relating to any law or jurisdiction including, state, federal or local law or otherwise.

If the Court does not approve the Settlement, this lawsuit will proceed as if no settlement had been attempted.

If the Settlement is not approved and litigation resumes, there is no guarantee of payment to the Settlement Class.

GETTING MORE INFO

Are There More Details About the Settlement?
This Notice is only intended to provide a summary of the proposed Settlement. You may obtain the complete text of the Settlement Agreement in the documents section of this website; by writing to the Settlement Administrator (No Artificial Flavors Litigation, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309); or, from the court file, which is available for your inspection during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, 330 W. Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, under the Civil Action Number 3:17-CV-2335-GPC-MDD.

By visiting the documents section of this website, you will find the Plaintiffs’ operative Complaint, a Claim Form, and a Request for Exclusion Form.

You may also contact the Settlement Administrator by email at: contact@noartificialflavorslitigation.com, or by writing to No Artificial Flavors Litigation, c/o Classaura Class Action Administration, 1718 Peachtree St NW #1080, Atlanta, GA 30309.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR DIRECT ANY INQUIRIES TO THE COURT