Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did the Court issue the Notice?
- What is this Action about?
- How do I know if I am part of the Settlement Class?
- What are the reasons for the Settlement?
- What does the Settlement provide?
- Do I have a lawyer in the case?
- How will the lawyers for the Settlement Class be paid?
- What happens if I do nothing after receiving the Notice?
- What does it mean to request exclusion from the Settlement Class?
- How do I request exclusion?
- What if I do not like the Settlement?
- When and where will the Court determine whether to approve the settlement?
- Do I have to come to the hearing?
- What if the proposed settlement is not approved?
- How do I get more information about the settlement?
1. Why did the Court issue the Notice?
The Notice is given to inform you that (1) a class action lawsuit is pending in the Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida entitled Gustavo E. Oliva et al. v. Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC., Case No. 13-033620 CA 01 (the "Action"); (2) you may be a Settlement Class Member; (3) the parties have proposed to settle the Action; (4) the Proposed Settlement may affect your legal rights; and (5) you have a number of options.
2. What is this Action about?
Plaintiffs have brought this action against Defendant, on behalf of themselves and all other persons who, from October 25, 2009 up to and including December 17, 2014 (the "Class Period"), purchased in the United States for consumption and not resale bottles and/or cans of Kirin Ichiban beer or Kirin Light beer. Plaintiffs have alleged that Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC ("A-B") misrepresented to consumers that Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light beers are brewed in and imported from Japan. Plaintiffs alleged that these beers are in fact domestically brewed but priced as a premium imported beer. Plaintiffs maintain that Defendant's actions constitute violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fla. Stat. §§ 501.201-501.2101. Further, Plaintiffs claim that Defendant was unjustly enriched by said conduct.
Defendant denies Plaintiffs' claims and charges, denies that it has violated any laws, and believes that its labeling, packaging, and marketing of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light have always been truthful and not deceptive.
3. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement Class?
The Court has conditionally certified a Settlement Class defined as the following:
All consumers who purchased bottles and/or cans of Kirin Ichiban beer or Kirin Light beer brewed and sold by Defendant in the United States for personal, family, or household purposes and not for re-sale from October 25, 2009 to December 17, 2014. Excluded from the Settlement Class are all persons who validly opt out of the settlement in a timely manner (for purposes of damages claims only); counsel of record (and their respective law firms) for the Parties; Defendant and any of its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and all of its respective employees, officers, and directors; and the presiding judge in the Action or judicial officer presiding over the matter, and all of their immediate families and judicial staff.
4. What are the reasons for the Settlement?
The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement that they believe is a fair, reasonable, and adequate compromise of their respective positions. The parties reached this agreement only after extensive negotiations, an exchange of information, and consideration of the risks and benefits of settlement.
Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members have considered the substantial benefits from the Settlement that will be given to the Settlement Class Members and balanced these benefits with the risk that a trial could end in a verdict for Defendant. They also considered the value of the immediate benefit to Settlement Class Members versus the costs and delay of litigation through trial and appeals and the risk that a class would not be certified. Even if Plaintiffs were successful in these efforts, Settlement Class Members may not receive any benefits for years.
5. What does the Settlement provide?
Benefits. If the Proposed Settlement is ultimately approved by the Court, it will provide cash payments and other relief to the Settlement Class. In return for the relief described below, the Settlement Class Members release their rights to pursue any claims against Defendant and related entities concerning or relating to the allegations raised in this Action. The central provisions of the Settlement are as follows:
- Global Class Relief.
- Injunctive Relief. As to all Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light beer brewed and sold in the United States by Defendant.
- For a period of no less than five (5) years, and subject to all necessary regulatory approvals by appropriate governing agencies, inclusion of the phrase "Brewed Under Kirin's Strict Supervision by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles, CA and Williamsburg, VA" on: a) Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light bottles in its present position and form; b) Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light cans in its present position and form; c) the front and back of all Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light beer consumer-facing packages; and d) the "Kirin Ichiban" (www.kirin.com/KIRINICHIBAN.aspx) and "Kirin Light" (www.kirin.com/KIRINLIGHT.aspx) pages of the Kirin website.
- Defendant will not use the term "Import" or "Imported" to describe bottles and/or cans of Kirin Ichiban and/or Kirin Light sold in the United States (hereinafter "Kirin Beer") on any website, label, packaging or in any other social media or materials.
- Monetary Payment. Defendant will provide a cash payment to Settlement Class Members in the form of partial refunds for prior purchases of Kirin Beer. Class Members may download and return a Claim Form from this website, or one that is sent to them by the Claims Administrator. The process and payment structure is as follows:
- Claims Supported by Proof of Purchase: A Settlement Class Member who has valid proof of purchase of Kirin Beer is entitled to the following refunds:
- Six pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans: $0.50 each.
- Twelve pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans: $1.00 each
- Individual bottle or cans: $0.10 each
Such valid proof of purchase shall constitute a sales receipt showing the Kirin Beer purchased and the date of purchase. Such reimbursement, supported by valid proof of purchase for all qualifying purchases, is capped at $50.00 per Settlement Class Household.
- Claims Not Supported by Proof of Purchase: A Settlement Class Member who does not have valid proof of purchase of Kirin Beer will be entitled to the following refunds:
- Six pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans: $0.50 each
- Twelve pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans: $1.00 each
- Individual bottle or cans: $0.10 each.
Such reimbursement, for claims not supported by proof of purchase, shall be capped at $12.00 per Settlement Class Household.
- Class Members have three options to make a claim:
- They may print out, complete, and mail their Claim Form to the Claims Administrator at Oliva v. Anheuser-Busch Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 43337, Providence, RI 02940-3337.
- They may print out, complete, and upload this form on this website.
- They may also make a claim using an online Claim Form on this website.
- Notice to the Class and Administration.
In addition to the above relief, Defendant will also pay for the costs of Notice and to administer the settlement.
- Claim Form (May be Filed Online or By Mail):
To receive reimbursement, Class Members must complete, sign, and submit a Claim Form ON OR BEFORE JUNE 15, 2015. For some claims, proof of purchase is required. Please review the Claim Form for more information.
You may file your claim on this settlement website or obtain a Claim Form by calling 1-877-695-7405.
You can also obtain another Claim Form by letter request to Oliva v. Anheuser-Busch Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 43337, Providence, RI 02940-3337.
Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, approval of this Settlement will result in a release by you of all claims against Defendant and other related entities concerning or relating to the allegations raised in this Action.
- More information.
The complete terms of the settlement are in the Settlement Agreement, which is available on this settlement website or by calling 1-877-695-7405.
6. Do I have a lawyer in the case?
The Court has appointed the following counsel as Class Counsel: Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, LLP, Harke Clasby & Bushman LLP and Robert W. Rodriguez, P.A. You also have a right to obtain your own attorney. But, if you hire your own attorney, you will have to pay that attorney. You can ask your attorney to appear at the Final Approval Hearing for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to represent you.
7. How will the lawyers for the Settlement Class be paid?
The Parties negotiated the payment of attorneys' fees and costs, over and above the class relief, only after reaching agreement upon all other terms of this Settlement Agreement. Moreover, the Settlement Agreement is not contingent upon the award of any particular amount of attorneys’ fees and costs. Like all class action settlements, the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs awarded to class counsel is left to the discretion of this Court. The Parties have agreed, however, that separate and apart from the monetary relief Defendant will provide to the Class, and subject to Court approval, Defendant will not object to a collective award of attorneys’ fees and costs up to $1,000,000.00 for Class Counsel in this case. Further, Defendant has agreed to not oppose a request for Class Representative awards in the amount of $5,000.00 each.
Class Counsel will file any motion for an award of Class Counsel's Fees on or before March 17, 2015.
8. What happens if I do nothing after receiving the Notice?
If you do nothing, and the Court approves the settlement, you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement and will be unable to pursue claims against Defendant and other related entities concerning or relating to the allegations raised in this Action.
As long as you do not request exclusion from the Settlement Class, you may be entitled to the refunds described in FAQ 5 if you properly submit a Claim Form.
You must complete and submit a Claim Form postmarked or submitted electronically no later than June 15, 2015, or your claim will not be considered and will be rejected.
9. What does it mean to request exclusion from the Settlement Class?
If you come within the Settlement Class definition, you will be a Settlement Class Member and will be bound by the settlement if the Court approves it unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class (also known as "opting out"). Being "bound by the settlement" means that you will be precluded from bringing, or participating as a claimant in, a similar lawsuit. Persons who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class will not be bound by the terms of the Settlement for purposes of damages claims and will not be eligible to receive any refunds from the Settlement, but they will retain the right to sue Defendant for damages, at their own cost.
You cannot exclude yourself from the Settlement Class and the Proposed Settlement if you wish to object to the settlement and/or appear before the Court during the Final Approval Hearing (see FAQ 11 and 12), as you need to be a Settlement Class Member affected by the settlement to object or appear.
10. How do I request exclusion?
You may exclude yourself from the Settlement Class (for purposes of damages claims only) provided that your request is made in writing and postmarked before March 27, 2015. To exclude yourself, send a letter that includes (a) the name of the case, (b) your name, current address, telephone number, and signature, and (c) a clear statement communicating that you elect to be excluded from the settlement. Your written request to exclude yourself from the settlement must be sent to the Oliva v. Anheuser-Busch Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 43337, Providence, RI 02940-3337
You will be excluded from the settlement only if your request is postmarked on or before March 27, 2015, and includes the required information. The date of the postmark on the return-mailing envelope shall be the exclusive means used to determine whether a request for exclusion has been timely submitted. Settlement Class Members who fail to submit a valid and timely request for exclusion on or before the date specified, shall be bound by all terms of the Settlement and the Final Order and Judgment, regardless of whether they have requested exclusion from the Settlement.
In determining whether you want to exclude yourself from the settlement, you are advised to consult your own personal attorney, as there may be issues particular to your circumstances that require consideration.
11. What if I do not like the Settlement?
If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can object to the Settlement. To object, you must provide the following information in writing: (i) full name, current address, and current telephone number; (ii) documentation sufficient to establish membership in the Class; (iii) a statement of the position(s) you wish to assert, including the factual and legal grounds for the position(s); and (iv) provide copies of any other documents that you wish to submit in support of your position.
You must file your objection before March 27, 2015 with the Clerk of Court, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, 73 W. Flagler Street, Suite 242, Miami, Florida 33130, and served at that same time upon both of the following:
(1) Class Counsel
Thomas A. Tucker Ronzetti, Esq.
KOZYAK, TROPIN &
2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd., 9th Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(2) Defendant's Counsel,
Stanley H. Wakshlag
KENNY NACHWALTER, P.A
201 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 1100
Miami, FL 33131 4327
If your objections do not meet all of the requirements set forth in this section, they will be deemed invalid and will be overruled.
Finally, subject to approval of the Court, any objecting Settlement Class Member may appear, in person or by counsel, at the Final Approval Hearing held by the Court, to show cause why the Proposed Settlement should not be approved as fair, adequate, and reasonable, or object to any petitions for attorneys' fees, Class Representative Award, and reimbursement of reasonable litigation costs and expenses. The objecting Class Member must file with the Clerk of the Court and serve upon Class Counsel and Defendant's Counsel (at the addresses listed above), a notice of intention to appear at the Final Approval Hearing ("Notice of Intention to Appear") on or before March 27, 2015.
The Notice of Intention to Appear must include copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence that the objecting Class Member (or his/her/its counsel) will present to the Court in connection with the Final Approval Hearing. Any Class Member who does not provide a Notice of Intention to Appear in complete accordance with the deadlines and other specifications set forth in the Class Notice, will not be allowed to speak or otherwise present any views at the Final Approval Hearing.
12. When and where will the Court determine whether to approve the settlement?
The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing for April 17, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., in Courtroom 10-1 of the Dade County Courthouse, 73 West Flagler Street, Miami, Florida 33130. This hearing may be continued or rescheduled by the Court without further notice. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and will consider Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses. The Court also will consider objections. The Court may decide these issues at the Final Approval Hearing or take them under consideration. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
13. Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. You are not required to come to the hearing but you are welcome to come at your own expense.
Settlement Class Members who object to the Proposed Settlement do not need to attend the Final Approval Hearing for their objections to be considered. If you wish to appear either personally or through your own personal attorney at the Final Approval Hearing, you must send both a timely objection and a Notice of Intention to Appear to the Clerk of the Court at the address set forth in FAQ 11 above, and serve copies on Class Counsel and counsel for Defendant at the addresses set forth in FAQ 11 above no later than March 27, 2015.
Your Notice of Intention to Appear must include copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence that you or your counsel will present to the hearing. Any Settlement Class Member who does not file and serve a Notice of Intention to Appear in accordance with these instructions will be barred from speaking at any hearing concerning this Proposed Settlement.
14. What if the proposed settlement is not approved?
If the Proposed Settlement is not granted final approval, the putative Settlement Class which has been preliminarily approved will be decertified, this action will proceed without further notice, and none of the agreements set forth in the Notice will be valid or enforceable.
15. How do I get more information about the settlement?
The Notice only summarizes the Proposed Settlement. The official terms of the Proposed Settlement are available on this website, reviewing the public files at the Dade County Courthouse, 73 West Flagler Street, Miami, Florida 33130 or by calling 1-877-695-7405 and requesting a copy of the Settlement Agreement. In the event of a conflict between the terms of the Notice and the Proposed Settlement, the terms of the Proposed Settlement will govern.
All questions you may have concerning the Settlement Agreement or the Notice should be directed to Oliva v. Anheuser-Busch Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 43337, Providence, RI 02940-3337.
Please DO NOT Contact the Court.