NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – Approval of a class action settlement has been reached in the case of a New York consumer who filed a lawsuit against Premier Nutrition Corp., alleging its protein products and protein bars misrepresent the amount of protein actually included in the products.
Joseph Gregorio filed the complaint on Aug. 8, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated. The settlement agreement is worth $9 million, with consumers having proofs of purchase being refunded $1 per shake up to $40.
Consumers without proofs can get $.50 per purchase, up to $20. Attorneys are seeking $3 million in fees.
The court granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement Sept. 14, certifying settlement class, appointing the class representative, appointing the class counsel and approving a notice plan. The order was written by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.
According to the District Court, the settlement administrator will give the court a supplemental declaration Thursday, Nov. 29. The declaration will include a chart containing "how many people were reached, how many have filed a claim and the value of each claim," the order states.
The court said "members of the class who wish to receive benefits under the amended settlement agreement must complete and submit timely and valid claim form(s) in accordance with the instructions and all claim forms must be postmarked or received by the settlement administrator" by Thursday, Nov. 15.
“The court finds that, subject to the final approval hearing, the amended settlement agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, within the range of possible approval, and in the best interests of the settlement class,” the district court said.
The final approval hearing will be held Thursday, Dec. 13 to determine whether the proposed terms and conditions are fair, whether attorneys’ fees and costs should be awarded to the class counsel and whether to approve the payment of an incentive award to the class representative.
If the amended settlement agreement doesn’t receive the court’s final approval, if the final approval is reversed on appeal or if the amended settlement agreement is terminated or otherwise fails to become effective, the district court said the court’s grant of class certification will be vacated, meaning the class representative and the settlement class will once again bear the burden of establishing the propriety of class certification.
“In such case, neither the certification of the settlement class for settlement purposes, nor any other act relating to the negotiation or execution of the amended settlement agreement shall be considered as a factor in connection with any class certification issues,” the district court said.
The court stated that any person who falls within the definition of the settlement class and who does not request exclusion from the class may enter an appearance in the action at least 21 calendar days before the settlement hearing, "at their own expense, individually or through counsel of their own choice."
According to the court, any settlement class member who doesn’t timely and validly submit a claim will be barred from participating in any distributions of the settlement fund.