Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc and its subsidiary, Del Monte Fresh Produce Co, have entered into settlement agreements to dismiss the two putative class action lawsuits brought on behalf of all direct and indirect United States purchasers of bananas from Fresh Del Monte and other banana producers. The cases have been pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida since 2005.
“Fresh Del Monte has always maintained that these lawsuits are without merit and that the company has done absolutely no wrong with respect to its sales of bananas,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte chairman and chief executive officer. “However, Fresh Del Monte believes the settlement of these lawsuits, once finally approved by the court, is in the best interest of the company because it will dispose of these class action litigations and eliminate the continued burden, disruption, and expense of responding to and defending against the claims.”
Under the settlement agreement with the direct purchasers of bananas, Fresh Del Monte has agreed to pay a total of no more than $2.5 million to the class and the attorneys for the class. The settlement with the indirect banana purchasers is for donations of fruit or other food products to a charity over the next 12 months and a payment of money toward attorneys' fees and the cost of notice to the class. The total retail value of the donations to be made is $833,334; the payment toward attorneys' fees and notice costs will not exceed $108,334.