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Suchanek v. Sturm Foods, Inc.
United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
September 12, 2019
LINDA SUCHANEK, RICHARD MCMANUS, CAROL CARR, PAULA GLADSTONE, EDNA AVAKIAN, CHARLES CARDILLO, BEN CAPPS, DEBORAH DIBENDETTO, and CAROL RITCHIE, Plaintiffs,
STURM FOODS, INC. and TREEHOUSE FOODS, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge
consumer fraud class action has been pending since June 28,
2011 (Doc. 1). On the eve of trial, after eight years of
litigation, the parties agreed to settle the claims for $25
million, common fund, with no reversion to Defendants.
Unfortunately, the parties have been unable to finalize the
settlement agreement because of disputes over distribution of
the common fund and the language on the claim forms (Docs.
429-32). They jointly seek the Court's guidance (Doc.
under the Relevant Statutes
consist of consumers from eight states who purchased
Defendants' product Grove Square Coffee
(“GSC”). Each state has its own consumer fraud
statute that calls for different damages:
• Alabama: actual damages, or the sum
of $100, whichever is greater; and treble damages in
consideration of the amount of actual damages, the frequency
of the unlawful acts, the number of persons affected, and
whether the acts were intentional. Ala. Code § 8-19-10.
• California: actual damages (at least
$1, 000), an injunction, restitution, and punitive damages.
Cal. Civ. Code § 1780.
• Illinois: actual damages. 815 ILCS
• New Jersey: “appropriate legal
or equitable relief, ” along with “threefold the
damages sustained by any person in interest.” N.J.
Stat. Ann. § 56:8-19.
• New York: actual damages or fifty
dollars, whichever is greater, and treble damages if the
violation was knowing or willful. N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §
• North Carolina: treble damages are
assessed automatically; “the measure of damages used
should further the purpose of awarding damages, which is to
restore the victim to his original condition, to give back to
him that which was lost as far as it may be done by
compensation in money.'” Belk, Inc. v. Meyer
Corp. U.S., 679 F.3d 146, 165 (4th Cir. 2012).
• South Carolina: actual damages;
treble damages if the court finds a knowing or willful
violation. S.C. Code Ann. § 39-5-140.
• Tennessee: actual damages; treble
damages when the violation was knowing or willful.
Menuskin v. Williams, 145 F.3d 755, 768 (6th Cir.