- What are these FAQs?
These Frequently Asked Questions and answers summarize the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who may be eligible for those benefits, and how to get them. For a more detailed and precise explanation of your legal rights and options, you can review the Amended Stipulation of Settlement.
- What is this lawsuit about?
This case is captioned as Crystle Wong v. Alacer Corp., Case No. CGC-12-519221. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” The defendant is Alacer Corp. (“Alacer”).
The lawsuit raises multiple legal claims against Alacer, including (1) unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), California Civil Code §1750, et seq.; (2) false and misleading advertising in violation of the California False Advertising Law (“FAL”), California Business & Professions Code § 17500, et seq.; (3) unlawful, unfair and fraudulent conduct in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), California Business & Professions Code § 17200, et seq.; (4) unjust enrichment; (5) intentional misrepresentation/fraud; and (6) negligent misrepresentation, all in connection with immunity-related, energy-related, and metabolism-related statements allegedly made by Alacer in the marketing, advertising and packaging of its Emergen-C products.
The Complaint in the lawsuit contains all of the allegations and claims asserted against Alacer. Alacer denies the allegations and legal claims in the lawsuit and maintains that all statements it has made about the Emergen-C products were proper. The Court has not decided who is right.
- Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Plaintiffs Crystle Wong, Nicholas Gianino, Arnold Lee and Lori Risman) sue on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims. Together, all the people with similar claims (except those who exclude themselves) are members of a “Settlement Class” and are called “Settlement Class Members”.
- Why is there a settlement?
The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or Alacer. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement. By agreeing to the settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and if the settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Members receive the benefits described in the Amended Stipulation of Settlement. The proposed settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Alacer did anything wrong. Alacer denies all legal claims in this case. Class Representatives and their lawyers think the proposed settlement is best for everyone who is affected.
WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT
- How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
The Settlement Class includes all persons who, from June 1, 2006 to February 27, 2012 (the “Settlement Class Period”), purchased the Emergen-C products in the United States. The Emergen-C products (the “Products”) included in the settlement are:
- Emergen-C Original Formula;
- Emergen-C Specialty Formula products: Heart Health, Joint Health, Immune Defense, Lite with MSM, MSM, Vitamin D & Calcium, and ElectroMIX;
- Emergen-C Multi-Vitamin, Kidz Multi-Vitamin, and Emergen-C Kidz;
- Emergen-C Immune Plus; and
- Super Gram tablets.
Excluded from the Settlement Class are Alacer’s employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives, and those who purchased the Products for the purpose of re-sale.
THE SETTLEMENT’S BENEFITS—WHAT YOU GET IF YOU QUALIFY
- What does the settlement provide?
Alacer paid $6.45 million to create a “Settlement Fund.”
The Settlement Fund is to be used to pay, in order: (1) all costs and payments associated with the notice and administration of the settlement, including all payments to the Settlement Administrator; (2) any necessary taxes and tax expenses; (3) any Fee and Expense Award made by the Court to Class Counsel; (4) any class representative service award made by the Court to Plaintiffs; and (5) payments to eligible Claimants and any others as approved by the Court.
The Amended Stipulation of Settlement provides precise and more detailed explanations of the benefits to members of the Settlement Class.
- How much will my payment be?
If you have Proof of Purchase (valid receipt or box packaging), you can claim the full purchase price you paid for the Products during the Settlement Class Period. If you have a receipt you may seek reimbursement of the purchase price stated on the receipt. If you have box packaging you may seek reimbursement ranging from $4.36 to $12.97, depending on the Product(s) purchased. Claimants with Proof of Purchase may seek reimbursement up to a maximum recovery of $36.
If you do not have Proof of Purchase, you may file a claim for 75% of the average price, per box package of the particular Product(s) you purchased during the Settlement Class Period, up to a maximum recovery of $18. Those average prices range from $4.36 to $12.97, depending on Product purchased.
The actual amount paid to individual Claimants will depend upon the number of valid Claims made and may be reduced pro rata if the total value of all valid Claims is greater than the money available in the Settlement Fund.
- When will I receive my payment?
Payments to valid Claimants will be made only after the Court grants Final Approval to the settlement and after any appeals are resolved (see “The Final Approval Hearing” below). If there are appeals, resolving them can take time. Please be patient.
- What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you exclude yourself from the settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Alacer about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you. If you file a Claim Form for benefits or do nothing at all, you will be releasing Alacer from all of the claims described and identified in section VII of the Amended Stipulation of Settlement.
The Amended Stipulation of Settlement provides more detail on precisely what you are giving up to stay in the Settlement Class.
- How can I receive a payment?
If you qualify for the benefits described above you must complete and submit a Claim Form and any required documentation (receipts or box packaging). You can file your Claim Form online through the File a Claim page. The deadline to file a Claim online is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on March 27, 2014. You also can download a Claim Form from the Documents page of this website or request one be sent to you by calling 1-866-833-7924, emailing to email@example.com, or writing to Emergen-C Settlement Administrator, PO Box 4655, Portland, OR 97208-4655. Claim Forms submitted by mail must be postmarked on or by March 27, 2014.
Please read all instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, attach the required documentation and, if you are mailing in a paper Claim Form, mail it postmarked no later than the date noted above, to:
Emergen-C Settlement Administrator
PO Box 4655
Portland, OR 97208-4655
Only one Claim Form per household may be submitted.
- How will my claim be decided?
The Amended Stipulation of Settlement provides more detail on how claims will be decided.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
- How do I get out of the settlement?
To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter or other written document by mail to:
Emergen-C Settlement Administrator
PO Box 4655
Portland, OR 97208-4655
Your request must include your full name, address, telephone number, proof that you purchased an Emergen-C product during the Settlement Class Period (statement in writing or copy of receipt or packaging) and signature.
Your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than March 19, 2014. You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or at this website.
- If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Alacer for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right you might have to sue Alacer for legal claims that the settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit. If you start your own lawsuit, you will have to hire your own lawyer and you will have to prove your claims.
- If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment?
No. You will not get a payment from the Settlement Fund if you exclude yourself from the settlement.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
- Do I have a lawyer in the case?
The Court has appointed a number of lawyers as “Class Counsel” to represent all members of the Settlement Class. They include: Michael R. Reese, Reese Richman LLP, New York, New York; Patrick J. Sheehan, Whatley Kallas, LLP, Boston, Massachusetts; Stephen D’Angelo, D’Angelo & Hashem, LLC, Boston, Massachusetts; Jeffrey A. Leon, Complex Litigation Group LLC, Highland Park, Illinois; Kevin T. Horner, Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson, P.C., Belleville, Illinois; and Brian T. Kreisler, The Kreisler Law Firm, LLC, O’Fallon, Illinois.
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.
- How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel intend to request up to thirty percent (30%) of the value of the settlement for attorneys’ fees, plus reimbursement of reasonable, actual out-of-pocket expenses in prosecuting the class action. The fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The Court will decide the amount of fees to award.
Class Counsel also will request that Service Awards of $5,000.00 or $10,000 each be paid from the Settlement Fund to the Class Representatives for their service as representatives on behalf of the whole Settlement Class. The Court will decide the amount to award to the Class Representatives.
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
- How do I tell the Court if I do not like the settlement?
If you are and choose to remain a member of the Settlement Class, you can object to any part of the settlement, the settlement as a whole, Class Counsel’s request for fees and expenses, and/or the Service Awards to the Class Representatives. To object, you must submit a letter or other written document that includes the following:
- Your full name, address and telephone number, and if you hire your own attorney, your attorney’s full name, address and telephone number;
- A written statement of all grounds for your objection accompanied by any legal support for the objection (if any);
- A statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing;
- Proof of membership in the Class; and
- Your signature or that of your attorney (if you hire one).
The requirements to object to the settlement are described in detail in the Amended Stipulation of Settlement in Section V.A.2. You must mail your objection to each of the following three (3) addresses, and your objection must be postmarked by March 19, 2014:
Clerk of the Court Class Counsel Defense Counsel Civil Clerk’s Office
San Francisco Superior Court
400 McAllister St., Room 103
San Francisco, CA 94102-4514
Patrick J. Sheehan
Whatley Kallas, LLP
60 State Street, 7th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
Robyn E. Bladow
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
333 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, California 90071
- What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object to the settlement only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the settlement because it no longer affects you.
THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement and any requests for fees and expenses (“Final Approval Hearing”).
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing on April 2, 2014 at 9:30 a.m., at the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Department 302, 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California 94102. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider the requests by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses, and for Service Awards to the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
- Do I have to attend the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, to the proper addresses, and it complies with the other requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it is not necessary.
- May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, your filed objection must include a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing (see Question 17 above).
You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the settlement.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
- How do I get more information?
For a complete, definitive statement of the settlement terms, refer to the Amended Stipulation of Settlement. You also may write with questions to the Settlement Administrator at info@EmergenCrefund.com, or Emergen-C Settlement Administrator, PO Box 4655, Portland, OR 97208-4655 or call, toll-free, at 1-866-833-7924.
DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT FOR INFORMATION.