S&C Wins Dismissal of Tuna Products Price-Fixing Allegations Against Private Equity Client

February 7, 2020

Lion Capital and Big Catch Cayman obtained the dismissal of multidistrict antitrust litigation involving an alleged conspiracy to fix prices of packaged tuna products. In a January 29 ruling, Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed with prejudice all claims against Lion Capital and Big Catch asserting that they conspired with Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and StarKist to fix canned tuna prices.

S&C represents UK private equity fund manager Lion Capital, which oversees investments in dozens of consumer products companies, including Bumble Bee Foods. Plaintiffs, including large U.S. grocery chains and food wholesalers, alleged that Lion Capital was a direct participant in the conspiracy or, in the alternative, that it should be held vicariously liable for the acts of its independent U.S. fund adviser.

The court first dismissed the claims in 2018 and gave Plaintiffs an opportunity to replead, but ultimately found that none of Plaintiffs' amended and supplemented allegations were sufficient to plead a plausible antitrust conspiracy claim under Twombly, nor sufficient to allege that actions of its supposed agent were sufficient to plead a claim under United States v. Bestfoods.

The S&C team was led by litigation partners Steve Holley and Adam Paris.