Maple Leaf Listeriosis Settlement headed to Courts for Approval



    TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - A proposed Canada-wide settlement between
the plaintiffs in numerous class action lawsuits, including three lead actions
(the "Lead Actions"), and Maple Foods Inc. and Maple Leaf Consumer Foods Inc.
(the "Defendants") has been reached. The proposed settlement affects
individuals who consumed or purchased certain food products (the "Recalled
Products") between January 1, 2008 and August 31, 2008. The proposed
settlement provides that compensation be paid to individuals who consumed
Recalled Products and their families, if their consumption caused any physical
or psychological harm.
    The proposed certification and settlement stems from class action
lawsuits which claim that the Defendants distributed, supplied, manufactured
or sold the Recalled Products that may have contained the bacteria listeria
monocytogenes and as a result of ingesting the Recalled Products, some
individuals became ill or died.

    Eligibility

    Individuals who consumed the Recalled Products may be eligible to
participate in the proposed settlement and obtain compensation. Class Members
who purchased but did not consume Recalled Products will not be eligible to
receive compensation unless such persons are eligible for compensation as
family members, but will be bound by the terms of the settlement, including a
release of all claims against the Defendants. In addition, persons and
corporations who purchased Recalled Products for resale purposes are NOT part
of the settlement class and will not be bound by the settlement.

    Proposed Compensation and Settlement

    The proposed settlement provides for the creation of a $25 million
settlement fund ("Settlement Fund") from which eligible claimants may receive
compensation. The Defendants will also pay up to a further $2 million dollars
if the Settlement Fund is insufficient to fully compensate all eligible
claims. The amount each claimant will receive depends upon the severity of
their illness. Claimants may also claim for lost income and certain
out-of-pocket expenses.
    For claimants who sustained physical symptoms consistent with
Listeriosis, the compensation ranges from $750 (for physical symptoms lasting
between 24 and less than 48 hours) up to $125,000 (for serious and long
lasting physical injuries). The estates of Class Members who died as a result
of symptoms consistent with Listeriosis will be paid $120,000, plus additional
substantial amounts to immediate family members. Notice costs, administration
costs, and class counsel fees and disbursements will be paid out of the
Settlement Fund.

    Motion for Certification and Approval of the Settlement

    All aspects of this proposed settlement are subject to court approval. In
order for the settlement to become effective, it must be approved by the
courts in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Québec, each of which must be satisfied
that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of Class
Members. Dates for the settlement approval hearings have been scheduled with
the respective courts as follows:

    
    - In the Saskatchewan Action on March 10, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. at the Court
      of Queen's Bench of Saskatchewan, 2425 Victoria Avenue, Regina,
      Saskatchewan.
    - In the Ontario Action on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at the
      Ontario Superior Court of Justice, 361 University Avenue, Toronto,
      Ontario.
    - In the Québec Action on March 20, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. at the Superior
      Court of Québec, 1 Notre-Dame East, Montréal, Québec.
    

    Claimants who support the proposed settlement, do not need to appear at
the approval hearings.

    Making a Claim

    If the settlement is approved, in order to be eligible to receive
compensation, claimants must complete, sign, and return a Claim Form, along
with the required accompanying documentation, to the Administrator listed at
the end of this release.
    Claim Forms maybe obtained by calling the toll-free number
1-800-801-2521, by visiting www.mapleleafclaim.com or by emailing a request to
info@mapleleafclaim.com.
    Claimants are encouraged to submit their claims as soon as possible.
However, claims will only be processed and paid, if eligible, following
approval of the settlement by the courts. Claim Forms must be received by the
Administrator no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on July 31, 2009.

    Objecting to the Proposed Settlement or Opting Out

    Claimants who wish to appear at the approval hearing or object to this
proposed settlement, should submit a written objection to the Administrator
according to the procedures and deadlines described in the Long-Form Notice
(available at www.mapleleafclaim.com) no later than March 2, 2009. The
Administrator will file copies of all objections with the courts.
    If the courts approve the settlement, claimants will be bound by all of
the applicable court's orders, the release and other provisions of the
settlement, unless they choose to exclude themselves from the appropriate
settlement class ("Opting Out"). The process and deadline for Opting Out will
be set out in a further notice that will be issued only if the Lead Actions
are certified and the proposed settlement is approved by the courts.

    Class Counsel

    The following law firms represent Class Members:

    
    - For residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador,
      Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, North West Territories, Nunavut, and
      residents outside of Canada: Merchant Law Group LLP (306) 359-7777.
    - For residents of Ontario, B.C., and Alberta: Branch MacMaster,
      (604) 654-2999, Docken and Company (403) 269-3612, Falconer Charney
      (416) 964-3408, Hotz Lawyers (416) 590-7823, Merchant Law Group LLP
      (647) 215-7776, Rochon Genova LLP (416) 363-1867, Stevensons LLP
      (416) 599-7900, Sutts, Strosberg LLP (519) 561-6294.
    - For residents of Québec: Merchant Law Group LLP (514) 842-7776,
      Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud (514) 937-2881.
    

    Class Members who consider it desirable or necessary to seek the advice
or representation of their own lawyers may do so at their own expense.

    Interpretation

    This press release is just a summary of some of the terms of the proposed
certification and settlement. In the case of any conflict between this press
release, the provisions of any posted Notice and the proposed settlement, the
terms of the settlement as set out in the Long Form Notice shall prevail. The
Long Form Notice is available 1-800-801-2521, by visiting
www.mapleleafclaim.com or writing to info@mapleleafclaim.com.

    For more information:

    For more information, visit www.mapleleafclaim.com or contact the
    Administrator:

    Bruneau Group Inc.
    Maple Leaf Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 20187 - 390 Rideau Street
    Ottawa ON K1N 9P4
    Tel.: 1-800-801-2521
    Fax: 613-562-0321
    Email: info@mapleleafclaim.com

    Do Not Contact the Courts about this Settlement




For further information:

For further information: Bruneau Group Inc., Maple Leaf Settlement
Administrator, 1-800-801-2521, Fax: (613) 562-0321, info@mapleleafclaim.com;
www.mapleleafclaim.com


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890