Safeway Class Action Lawsuit

Class Action Lawsuits and Distribution Plans

On Tuesday, a U.S. Federal Court Judge has ruled that only Class Members who was enrolled on the Safeway website¬† is covered by the Safeway class action suit. Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar in a separate case invalidated the claims of Class Members in that case. The new ruling amends U.S. Federal District Judge Jon Tigar’s previous partial summary judgement in that case, which alleged that Safeway engaged in a scheme to mark up grocery items purchased at certain websites and then charge those prices to members of the Class. The plaintiffs had alleged that this marked up price gouging was in breach of the Federal Act, which prohibits price discrimination by retailers. The Court found there to be an absence of a direct cash benefit to the Class Member as a result of the alleged scheme, but determined that it was a price reduction that could benefit the Class, if the Class were allowed to sue. The Court stated however that it would apply its discretionary class analysis guidelines to rebut any supposed agreement between Safeway and the competitors with regard to their discounts.

The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys representing the company-operated Super America superstore and Safeway LLC.

In their second claim, the Class claims that Safeway conspired with competing grocery stores to fix the prices of certain grocery items. The plaintiffs further alleged that this conspiracy, together with the subsequent attempts by Safeway to fix the prices of same-store consumables such as food, deterred the Class members from acting on their rights to bring about a valid complaint against the defendants. The third claim was that the defendants violated the Riegle classifies as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Class is seeking monetary settlements for all three claims.

The three class actions were consolidated by a three-judge District Court in response to the defendants’ motion to dismiss all three lawsuits.

The defendants argued that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring a fourth-party complaint against them regarding the conspiracy to fix prices, or the attempts to fix the grocery products at issue, and the discounting of products at selected locations by Safeway. The District Court found that there to be a sufficient case to proceed with the fourth complaint. The plaintiffs filed a complaint against the defendants in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Court held that the plaintiffs did not have standing to file a third-party claim against the defendants under the theories of fraud, contract dilution, and anti-trust.

The plaintiffs were also able to pursue a derivative lawsuit against the three corporations-SAFETE, Super America, and Safeway-over the prices of their groceries.

The case was resolved in favor of the Class. Thereafter, the lawsuits were dismissed. It was later discovered that both the Majority and the minority in the U.S. Congress favored the supermarket manufacturers over the victims of the alleged conspiracies.

Another class action settlement was made out of the conspiracy to fix the prices at Wal-Mart (a class action suit).

A settlement was reached between the United States Federal Trade Commission and Wal-Mart concerning an illegal distribution plan, where Wal-Mart was fined $4 million dollars. The distribution plan called for Wal-Mart to buy at least one million dollars worth of products from a distributor for sale below retail prices. The plan was said to violate the provisions of the Fair and Accurate Digital Transaction Act (FACTA). It is imperative that any claim or lawsuit that involves digital information must first be filed with proper channels, including the Internet.

As more supermarkets are coming to the private market, and also as the economy and consumers themselves struggle to survive in this recession, there are many more class action lawsuits on the horizon.

It is best to stay abreast of these trends and learn all you can before anything happens. Lawsuits can either help the plaintiffs or hurt them. The best course of action is to take care of your own affairs and if you can’t do it on your own, then it is a good idea to hire a legal representative who will do everything in his power to protect you.

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