Sysco Class Action Settlement
Processed by Dahl Administration
The Settlement resolves a lawsuit which alleges that Sysco charged and collected “fuel surcharges” which were excessive and unlawful. According to Plaintiffs, by doing these things Sysco breached the contracts that some of its customers entered into and violated state statutory and/or common law. Sysco denies that it did anything wrong, and contends that it’s charging and collection of "fuel surcharges" has always been appropriate and proper. The Court has not found that Sysco did anything wrong.
The Amended Class Action Complaint has more information about the lawsuit and is available in the Settlement Documents section of this website.
"Plaintiffs’ Claims” are described in the Settlement Agreement to mean: any and all claims, whether known or unknown, Plaintiffs or any member of the Settlement Class brought or could have brought against Defendant in the Litigation or in any similar case in a court of competent jurisdiction, related to any of the Fees, including, but not limited to claims (whether based in contract, tort, common law, statute, or any other legal or equitable theory), involving the negotiation, implementation, maintenance, calculation, assessment, modification, presentation, representation, suppression, collection or payment of the Fees, or which in any way otherwise regard or relate to the Fees.
In a class action, one or more plaintiffs, called “Class Representatives” (in this case, the Plaintiffs), sue on behalf of all people and companies that have similar claims. All these other people and companies are “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except those who voluntarily exclude themselves from the class. This case has been certified as a class action for purposes of this settlement. Sysco contends that, for any purpose other than settlement, these and similar cases are not appropriate for class action treatment.
The Court did not decide in favor of either side. Sysco expressly denies any liability or wrongdoing associated with the lawsuit claims. Instead, both sides agreed to a compromise settlement to avoid the cost and risk of continued litigation in multiple venues, including trials and subsequent appeals. The settlement also ensures that the people and businesses affected will get compensation. In return, the Defendant gets a general release of all claims which were or could have been asserted in the lawsuit related to the conduct at issue. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe the settlement is in the best interests of everyone affected.
The Court has certified a Settlement Class defined as:
All customers in the United States which paid Defendant one or more of the Fees at any time within the Class Period, and whose contracts pursuant to which such Fees were paid do not expressly set forth the manner of calculating the Fees. Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (1) any individual or entity currently in bankruptcy, (2) any individual or entity whose obligations were discharged in bankruptcy, (3) any judicial officer who has presided over any of the related litigation, and (4) any non-party who has filed a case against Defendant (or its subsidiaries and/or related entities) challenging fuel surcharges from January 1, 2017 to the date of Final Approval.
The term "Defendant" means Sysco Corporation, its operating subsidiaries, divisions and affiliated entities which are full line foodservice distributors, and each and all of their respective predecessors, successors, direct and indirect parents and subsidiaries, acquired companies, divisions, related or affiliated entities, and any entity in which any of them have a controlling interest, and for each and every above referenced entity, its respective past, present, and future directors, managers, officers, employees, agents, attorneys, insurers, co-insurers, reinsurers, and each and all of its respective predecessors, assigns and legal representatives.
The term “Class Period” means from March 1, 2011 through December 22, 2017. If you received written notice, then the parties believe that you may be a member of the class based upon Sysco records.
You still are a class member even if you paid only one “fuel surcharge” during the class period.
If you still are not sure whether you are included in the settlement as a Class Member, you can get additional information in the Settlement Documents section of this website or free assistance by calling the settlement administrator appointed by the Court at 1-866-431-9933.
Sysco has agreed to establish an all-inclusive settlement fund of $6,600,000. This fund will be used to pay Class Members who submit timely and valid claims, after any Court approved amounts for attorney’s fees, class representative incentive awards, administration costs, and reimbursed litigation expenses are paid from the settlement fund. This remaining amount is referred to as the “net settlement fund.”
If you are a Class Member who submits a timely and valid claim (and does not file a valid and timely opt-out), you will get a settlement check representing a portion of the Fees you paid.
The portion you receive will be equitably determined on a pro-rata basis by the settlement administrator. The total amount of the Fees you paid as a percentage of the total amount of Fees paid by all Class Members who submit timely and valid claims will determine your percentage share of the net settlement fund. The total amount of your payment will depend on how many other Class Members submit valid claims.
To qualify for payment, you must send in a claim form by May 1, 2018. If you choose not to submit your claim form online, you must mail a paper claim for to the settlement administrator appointed by the Court by May 1, 2018. To receive a paper copy of the claim form or to receive instructions on submitting a paper claim form, please contact the settlement administrator at 1-866-431-9933.
Submit only one claim form, even if you had multiple locations serviced by Sysco.
The Court will hold a hearing on February 15, 2018, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If Judge Marshall approves the Settlement, and if anyone filed an objection, there could be appeals. If there are any appeals, payment of claims could be delayed, possibly for more than a year. Updates will be provided in the Important Dates.
To exclude yourself from the settlement (“opt-out”), you must send a letter by U.S. mail stating that you want to be excluded from “Grilling the Dream, Inc. et al. v. Sysco Corporation (17 CV 1192-1)”. You also must include your name, address, telephone number, and signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than February 1, 2018, to each of the following:
Grilling the Dream, Inc. et al. v. Sysco Corporation
c/o Dahl Administration
PO Box 3613
Minneapolis, MN 55403-0613
98 Southeast Seventh Street
Miami, FL 33131
Oscar M. Price, IV
Price Armstrong, LLC
2421 2nd Ave S,
Birmingham, AL 35203
You can’t exclude yourself by phone or by email. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any settlement payment, and you cannot object to the Settlement. If you timely and appropriately ask to be excluded, you will not be bound by the Settlement and your claims, if any, against Sysco will not be released.
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class, and that means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Sysco regarding the claims in this lawsuit. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will legally bind you.
The complete release language from the Settlement Agreement is as follows: any and all causes of action, including but not limited to Plaintiffs’ Claims as defined above, claims for damages, equitable, legal and administrative relief, interests, penalties, fees, costs, demands, losses, liabilities or rights, whether based on federal, state, or local laws, statues or ordinances, regulations, contracts, common law or any other source, known or unknown, whether or not concealed or hidden, that Plaintiffs or any member of the Settlement Class have against Defendant regarding the Fees, including without limitation, claims for breach of contract, claims for injunctive or declaratory relief, and claims for violation of any state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations, including without limitation any common law or statutory claims for unlawful, unconscionable, unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices arising out of, based upon, or related to the facts, transactions, events, occurrences, acts, practices, or omissions that were alleged or could have been alleged in the Litigation or in any similar case in a court of competent jurisdiction, including without limitation, those arising from the implementation, maintenance, calculation, assessment, modification, and/or charging and collecting of the Fees.
If you do nothing, you will get no money from the settlement and will release all claims as discussed above.
Yes. The Court has appointed the law firm Price Armstrong, LLC and Flynn Peeler and Phillips, LLC, to represent you and other Class Members as Plaintiffs' Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense, but you are not required to do so.
Under the terms of the settlement, the appointed lawyers acting as Plaintiffs' Class Counsel can ask the Court for attorneys’ fees up to one-third of the settlement fund, and for reimbursement of litigation expenses they’ve incurred up to $150,000. This award is to compensate the five separate law firms for the work they spent in pursuing the multiple class actions across three states, and the risk they took that no resolution would ever be reached. The appointed lawyers may also seek payments up to $20,000 for each of the class representatives, to compensate them for their time and effort in bringing these lawsuits. All costs to administer the settlement and to provide notice will be paid from the settlement fund. Members of the Settlement Class are not personally liable for any such fees and expenses.
If you are a class member, you may object to any part of the Settlement you do not like, and the Court will consider your views. You must submit any objection in writing and must provide evidence of your membership in the Class. The procedures for submitting written objections are set out below. A written objection (and any support for it) must be filed with the Clerk of Court and received no later than February 1, 2018, (the “Objection Deadline”) by all of the following.
Evonne Mull, Clerk
222 Pine Avenue
Albany, Georgia 31701
98 Southeast Seventh Street
Miami, FL 33131
Oscar M. Price, IV
Price Armstrong, LLC
2421 2nd Ave S,
Birmingham, AL 35203
If you hire an attorney in connection with making an objection, that attorney must file with the Court and serve on the counsel identified above a notice of appearance. The notice of appearance must be filed with the Court and received by the three addressees above via US Mail or other carrier no later than the Objection Deadline. If you do hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for payment of all fees and expenses that the attorney incurs on your behalf.
If you want to object, you must file your objection in writing to the Court. Your objection must include:
If you make a written objection to the Settlement as set out above, you may request to speak — either in person or through an attorney hired at your own expense — at the Final Fairness Hearing the Court has set to consider whether to give final approval to the Settlement Agreement. You are not required to attend the hearing. Lack of attendance at the Final Fairness Hearing will not prevent the Court from considering your objection. If you (or your attorney) intend to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing, you must file with the Court and serve on the Settlement Administrator identified above a notice of intent to appear, and your attorney (if you hire one) must file a notice of appearance with the Clerk of Court. Again, the notice of intent to appear must be filed with the Court, and received by the parties above, no later than the Objection Deadline.
If you do not file an objection as described above, you will be deemed to have waived any and all objections to the Settlement, to have consented to the Court’s certification of and jurisdiction over the Settlement Class, and to have released the Claims as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 12:00 p.m. on February 15, 2018, in the Dougherty County Courthouse, Albany, Georgia. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. You are not required to attend the hearing, but may do so if you wish. If there are objections that have been submitted in writing in advance of the hearing, Judge Marshall will consider them. Judge Marshall will listen to people who have made a prior written request to speak at the hearing. Judge Marshall will also decide whether to pay Class Counsel the amount they are requesting for attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses, as well as class representative awards. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement.
If the proposed Settlement is not granted final approval, the Settlement Class that has been preliminarily approved will be decertified, the actions compromising the Litigation will proceed as if the Settlement had not been entered into, and the Settlement shall not be valid or enforceable.
You can call or write to the Settlement Administrator at 1-866-431-9933 and Grilling the Dream, Inc. et al. v. Sysco Corporation, c/o Dahl Administration, PO Box 3613, Minneapolis, MN 55403-0613.
Please do not contact the Court or Clerk of Court with any questions regarding this case.