Farmed Atlantic Salmon
PLEASE SEE UPDATE BELOW – A SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED WHICH THE FEDERAL COURT OF CANADA WILL BE ASKED TO APPROVE IN NOVEMBER 2023.
This case alleges that the defendants unlawfully conspired to fix the global and North American prices of farmed Atlantic salmon.
Farmed Atlantic salmon is the most commonly sold type of salmon in Canadian stores, restaurants, and anywhere else that sells or serves salmon.
The defendants are Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon producers and their subsidiaries in Canada and other countries. Norway and Canada are among the world’s top farmed Atlantic salmon producers. The defendants and their co-conspirators control the global and North American farmed Atlantic salmon market.
The plaintiff alleges that the defendants conspired to manipulate global and North American prices of farmed Atlantic salmon. The defendants successfully raised the global (including North American) prices of farmed Atlantic salmon since at least 2015. These price increases not only impacted farmed Atlantic salmon sold by the defendants, but also all farmed Atlantic salmon sold in North America. The plaintiff alleges that these actions violated Canadian competition laws.
The Court will decide at a later date if the case will proceed as a class action.
The case seeks to represent all persons in Canada who purchased farmed Atlantic salmon and products derived from farmed Atlantic salmon since July 1, 2015.
- October 20, 2023: A settlement has been reached with the following defendants totalling CDN$5.25 million:
- Cermaq Canada Ltd., Cermaq Group AS, Cermaq Norway AS, and Cermaq US LLC;
- Grieg Seafood ASA, Grieg Seafood BC Ltd., Grieg Seafood Sales North America Incorporated (formerly known as Ocean Quality North America Inc.), Grieg Seafood Sales Premium Brands, Inc. (formerly known as Ocean Quality Premium Brands Inc.), and Grieg Seafood Sales USA Inc. (formerly known as Ocean Quality USA Inc.);
- Lerøy Seafood AS, and Lerøy Seafood USA Inc.;
- Marine Harvest Atlantic Canada Inc., Mowi ASA, Mowi Canada West Inc., Mowi Ducktrap, LLC, and Mowi USA, LLC;
- Nova Sea AS;
- SalMar ASA; and
- Sjór AS (formerly known as Ocean Quality AS).
The settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court. The application for approval of the settlement will be heard by the Federal Court by videoconference on November 30, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.
Only class members who purchased more than CAD $1 million of salmon in Canada between April 10, 2013 and February 20, 2019 are eligible to submit a claim.
Settlement Class Members have an opportunity to opt out of (exclude themselves from) the class action. Please review the Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval Hearing for more information. [English] [French]
At the approval hearing, the Federal Court will be asked to approve a method of distributing the settlement funds to settlement class members. Please review the Proposed Distribution Protocol for more information. [English] [French]
If approved, the settlement will resolve the litigation in its entirety.
The action was discontinued as against the following defendants:
- Scottish Sea Farms Ltd by Order dated November 2, 2021
- Alsaker AS, Alsaker Fjordbruk AS, and Bremnes Seashore AS by Order dated April 6, 2022
- Nordlaks Holding AS and Nordlaks Oppdrett AS by Order dated November 24, 2022
On November 30, 2021, the Superior Court of Quebec issued a judgment discontinuing the motion against Scottish Sea Farms Ltd. A copy of the judgment authorizing the discontinuance is available here (French only). A copy of the notice of discontinuance is available here (French only).
On December 1, 2021, the Quebec action was stayed by the Superior Court of Quebec to give precedence to the Federal court class action. You can view a copy of the order by clicking here (French only).
Pursuant to the settlement reached in the Federal Court class action, the Quebec plaintiffs will move to discontinue the Quebec Action.
- October 6, 2023: The Federal Court conditionally certified this class action for settlement purposes and approved notice of certification. Please see the Court’s order here.
- June 12 to 15, 2023: Motion for Certification scheduled to be heard in Toronto has been vacated.
- April 26, 2021: The plaintiffs issued their Consolidated Statement of Claim with leave of the Court.
- January 3, 2020: The plaintiff issued the Statement of Claim.
- Settlement Agreement (English, French)
- Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval Hearing (English, French)
- Proposed Distribution Protocol (English, French)
- Order – Certification and Notice Approval – issued 6 October, 2023
- Consolidated Statement of Claim – issued 26 April, 2021
- Statement of Claim – issued 3 January, 2020
What is a class action?
A class action is a special form of lawsuit in which one plaintiff brings a claim against one or more defendants based on allegations which are common to a group, or class, of people. In order for the action to become a class action, it must proceed through a stage known as “certification”.
Who brings a class action lawsuit forward?
A statement of claim is issued on behalf of a “representative plaintiff”. The representative plaintiff’s role is to work with class counsel to bring the action forward and to represent the class members in court.
What is certification?
In order for an action to proceed on behalf of the entire class, a judge must decide (among other things) whether the members of the proposed class have common issues, and whether a class action is the preferred way to resolve the issues. The process to decide these issues is known as the “certification motion”. If the judge is satisfied that the case meets all of the requirements for certification, he or she will issue an order which certifies the action as a class action.
Do I have to do anything to “join” the lawsuit?
No. If the lawsuit is certified, and you are included in the class as defined, you are automatically included in the lawsuit.
Once I am part of the class do I have to do anything?
No. We will work primarily with the class representative.
What if I do not want to be included in the lawsuit?
Those who do not wish to remain in the class will be given the option to opt-out by sending an opt-out form at the appropriate time to us.
What are the benefits of proceeding as a class action?
Certification as a class action will enable us to prove the facts in a single lawsuit rather than in numerous individual lawsuits. This has obvious benefits to the class members and to the courts.
How long does it take for a class action to be resolved?
There is no timeframe. We will move the case forward diligently but it can take a considerable period of time to reach trial.
Can a class action lawsuit be settled without going to trial?
Many class actions settle and thereby remove the need for a trial. However, we cannot predict with any certainty whether or not there will be a settlement in a given action.
What are the chances of winning the action?
The chances of “winning” can never be accurately predicted.
Will be liable for any costs or legal fees?
Class action lawsuits are typically brought on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyers will only be paid if the action is successful at trial or results in a settlement in favour of the plaintiffs. Legal fees would then be paid out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by a judge.
Disbursements (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses, including expert reports) may be dealt with in one of two ways.
Most commonly, the lawyers will absorb the cost of disbursements. The lawyers may seek funding assistance from the Class Proceeding Fund, which may provide funding for disbursements if granted.
In some cases, disbursements may be funded by the class members, including the class representative. This typically occurs in smaller class actions brought on behalf of an organization or network of individuals where each member of the class is easily identifiable and known to the representative plaintiff. If the class action is successful, amounts advanced for disbursements are re-paid from the proceeds of any judgment or settlement to class members (and others).
Will I be liable for costs of the action if it is unsuccessful?
Only the class representative may be liable for costs of the common issues portion of the action if it is unsuccessful.
When can I expect to receive a payout from this class action?
A “payout” or an award for damages is never certain.
The action may settle or it may proceed to trial, at which time a judge will determine the amount of damages, if any, to which the class members are entitled to. Regardless, the amount of “payout” cannot be predicted, and we cannot predict when the action may settle or when the trial will conclude.
How will counsel keep me updated on the progress of the case?
If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, you will receive a formal notice from the court explaining the nature of the case and providing you with the opportunity to opt out if you wish. General information about the lawsuit will be posted on Sotos LLP’s website at https://www.sotosclassactions.com.
Where can I send any documents that I have that may be relevant to a class action?
We ask that you keep a copy of any documents, correspondences, records, invoices, receipts, etc. that you feel might be relevant to your individual claim in the class action. If there is a “payout,” this documentation may be required in order to support your claim for compensation.
It is not required that you send any documents to us at this time.