In re Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
14-02567-MD-W-GAF

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You have received a Notice because Defendants’ records show you may have purchased for resale purposes Filled Propane Exchange Tanks directly from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, or paid to exchange a previously purchased Filled Propane Exchange Tank directly with Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, between July 21, 2008 and January 9, 2015.

    The Court sent you a Notice for the following reason:

    Settlement Class Members have the right to know about the proposed Settlements of this class action lawsuit with Ferrellgas and AmeriGas, and about their legal rights and options, before the Court holds a “Fairness Hearing” to decide whether to grant final approval of those Settlements.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlements, and your legal rights. It also explains what benefits from the Settlements will be available, who is eligible for them, and how to obtain them. If the Court finally approves the Settlements and orders that the Settlement Fund(s) be distributed, the Notice and Claims Administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the Settlements allow.

    The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlements. If you are a Settlement Class Member, you have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court considers whether it will grant final approval of the proposed Settlements at the “Fairness Hearing.” The Court will hold the Fairness Hearing on June 17, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 8A of Charles Evans Whittaker United States Courthouse, United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, 400 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106 to decide whether the proposed Settlements are fair and reasonable, and provide adequate relief to the members of the Settlement Class. The date and time for the Fairness Hearing rarely change, but please check this website or the District Court’s website for updated information.

    If you wish to comment on or object to the Settlements, or to opt out of the Settlements, you must do so following the procedures described below. If you are a Settlement Class Member and do nothing, you will receive money from the Settlements and you will be bound by any final judgment.

  • The lawsuit claims that Defendants conspired to inflate the prices of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks by agreeing to reduce the fill levels of their Filled Propane Exchange Tanks and by agreeing to allocate customers and markets between themselves. Each of the Defendants denies the allegations and denies that it violated any laws or engaged in any wrongdoing.

    Ferrellgas and AmeriGas have entered into separate Settlement Agreements with Plaintiffs.

    To obtain more information about the claims in this lawsuit, you can view the complaint and other related court documents on the Important Documents page.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more persons called “Named Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people with similar claims together are a “Class” and are called “Class Members.” A class action settlement resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class. The Court appointed Named Plaintiffs Morgan Larson LLC, John Auto Electric, Inc., Speed Stop 32, Inc., and Yocum Oil Company, Inc. as the Direct-Purchaser Plaintiff Class Representatives in this case.

  • The Court has not found in favor of any party, including Plaintiffs, Ferrellgas, or AmeriGas. Plaintiffs and Ferrellgas, and Plaintiffs and AmeriGas, have agreed to separate Settlement Agreements, which, if approved, will bring the claims of Settlement Class Members against Ferrellgas and against AmeriGas to an end. Settling the case avoids the uncertainty of continuing the case between them and the cost of further litigation, and Settlement Class Members will get the benefits of the Settlements. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel support the Settlements and believe they are in the best interests of the Settlement Class.

  • Yes, as to the claims of Settlement Class Members. On September 23, 2019, Plaintiffs and Ferrellgas entered into a settlement agreement, which fully resolves the Settlement Class Members’ claims against Ferrellgas (as described in Question 16). Then on October 2, 2019, Plaintiffs and AmeriGas entered into a settlement agreement which fully resolves the Settlement Class Members’ claims against AmeriGas (as described in Question 16). Because all Defendants have now settled, these Settlements completely resolve the case, as discussed in Question 6 below.

  • No, as to the claims of Settlement Class Members. Ferrellgas and AmeriGas have separately agreed to settle this case. Because all of the Defendants have now agreed to settle this case, no non-settling defendants remain, and this case will be terminated following final approval of the Settlements. More money will not become available in the future for Settlement Class Members as a result of additional settlements with and/or a trial against any non-settling defendants because none remain. If these settlements are finally approved by the Court, the jury trial currently scheduled to begin on October 11, 2021, before Judge Fenner, at the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division will be cancelled, and this action will be terminated.

  • Entities who purchased or exchanged Filled Propane Exchange Tanks directly from Defendants for resale purposes during certain time periods may be Settlement Class Members and eligible to receive compensation from the Settlements when the funds are distributed, if they meet the following settlement class definition:

    All entities in the United States who purchased for resale Filled Propane Exchange Tanks directly from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, or paid to exchange a previously purchased Filled Propane Exchange Tank directly with Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, between July 21, 2008 and January 9, 2015.

    To be in the Settlement Class and participate in the Settlements, you must have purchased or exchanged a Filled Propane Exchange Tank directly from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas for resale and must have done so between July 21, 2008 and January 9, 2015 (the “Settlement Class Period”).

  • If you received a Notice, it is because you were listed as a potential Settlement Class Member. If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get help by contacting the Notice and Claims Administrator, JND Legal Administration, via the Contact Us page.

  • As long as you fall within the definition of the Settlement Class in Question 7 above, you can participate in the Settlements, regardless of which Defendant you purchased or exchanged Filled Propane Exchange Tanks, or whether you have purchased or exchanged Filled Propane Exchange Tanks directly from more than one Defendant. All direct-purchaser customers of Ferrellgas and AmeriGas who fall within the definition of the Settlement Class in Question 7 are all Settlement Class Members and are all entitled to receive a payment under these Settlements.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, you have the right to (1) do nothing, in which case you will receive a payment (see Question 26 below), (2) comment on or object to the Settlements (see Question 23 below), (3) opt out of the Settlements (see Question 20 below), or (4) attend the Court’s Fairness Hearing to speak in support of or against the Court’s final approval of the Settlements (see Question 24 below).

  • Ferrellgas will pay $6,250,000 into a Settlement Fund. After deducting attorneys’ fees, costs, applicable taxes, and other fees and expenses (see Question 19), the Settlement Fund will be distributed to Settlement Class Members. In the event monies remain as residue in the Settlement Fund following all distribution efforts approved by the Court, Plaintiffs may ask the Court for an order disposing of all such funds, through additional distributions to eligible Settlement Class Members if economically feasible, and if not, to an appropriate third party charitable institution or antitrust education institution. A notice will be posted on this website providing details and a chance for Settlement Class Members to be heard in connection with any proposed distribution or donation of any residual funds.

    As a Settlement Class Member, you are giving up, or “releasing,” any claims that you may have against Ferrellgas and the Released Parties (as explained in more detail in Question 16 below, this includes Ferrellgas affiliates, agents, employees, officers, directors, and representatives) in exchange for the right to receive your share of the Ferrellgas Settlement Fund. That release includes any claims made or that could have been made against Ferrellgas and the Released Parties arising from or relating to the facts, activities or circumstances alleged in this lawsuit. The release is described in more detail in the Ferrellgas Settlement Agreement and in Question 16 below. You can view a copy of the Ferrellgas Settlement Agreement and other related documents on the Important Documents page.

  • AmeriGas will pay $6,312,500 into a Settlement Fund. After deducting attorneys’ fees, costs, applicable taxes, and other fees and expenses (see Question 19), the Settlement Fund will be distributed to Settlement Class Members. In the event monies remain as residue in the Settlement Fund following all distribution efforts approved by the Court, Plaintiffs will ask the Court for an order disposing of all such funds, through additional distributions to eligible Settlement Class Members if economically feasible, and if not, to an appropriate third party charitable institution or antitrust education institution. A notice will be posted on this website providing details and a chance for Settlement Class Members to be heard in connection with any proposed distribution or donation of any residual funds.

    As a Settlement Class Member, you are giving up, or “releasing,” any claims that you may have against AmeriGas and the Released Parties (as explained in more detail in Question 16 below, this includes AmeriGas affiliates, agents, employees, officers, directors, and representatives) in exchange for the right to receive your share of the AmeriGas Settlement Fund. That release includes any claims made or that could have been made against AmeriGas and the Released Parties arising from the facts, activities or circumstances alleged in this lawsuit. The release is described in more detail in the AmeriGas Settlement Agreement and in Question 16 below. You can view a copy of the AmeriGas Settlement Agreement and other related documents on the Important Documents page.

  • Settlement Class Members who do not opt out of the Settlements will be eligible to receive a share of the Settlement Funds, after reductions for attorneys’ fees, legal costs, administration costs, and incentive payments to the class representatives. For each Settlement Fund (that is, the Ferrellgas Settlement Fund and the AmeriGas Settlement Fund), payments will be calculated by the claims administrator based on a formula using Defendants’ total sales amounts during the Settlement Class Period to all Settlement Class Members, as reflected in Defendants’ sales records. If you purchased or exchanged Filled Propane Tanks directly from both Ferrellgas and AmeriGas for resale during the Settlement Class Period, you will receive compensation for purchases made from both Defendants, so long as you do not opt out of the Settlements.

    Each Settlement Class Member’s share of the Settlement Fund is a fraction, with the Settlement Class Member’s total purchases from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas for Filled Propane Exchange Tanks during the Settlement Class Period as the numerator, and the total purchases from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas for Filled Propane Exchange Tanks by all Settlement Class Members during the Settlement Class Period as the denominator:

    (Settlement Class Member’s individual purchases from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas for Filled Propane Exchange Tanks during the Class Period)

    ÷

    (Total purchases by all Settlement Class Members from Ferrellgas or AmeriGas for Filled Propane Exchange Tanks during the Class Period)

    Each Settlement Class Member’s fractional amount shall be multiplied against the Settlement Fund, after reductions for attorneys’ fees, legal costs, administration costs, and incentive payments to the class representatives. The total amounts paid and dates of purchases will be conclusively derived by the claims administrator from Defendants’ data maintained by their financial, IT and/or sales departments and will not be subject to challenge by Settlement Class Members. Payments to Settlement Class Members shall not be made until the Effective Date has passed and all objections, collateral challenges or appeals relating to the Settlement(s) have been fully and finally resolved. The proposed Plan of Allocation is available for review on the Important Documents page and will be presented for approval by the Court at the Fairness Hearing (see Question 24).

  • You do not need to do anything to receive money from the Settlements. If you fall within the definition of the Settlement Class set forth above, and do not opt out of the Settlements, you will receive money from the Settlements. If you exclude yourself from the Settlements, you will not receive money from the Settlements.

  • The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on June 17, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. to decide whether to approve the Settlements. If the Court approves the Settlements, there still may be appeals of that decision. If an appeal is filed, it is hard to estimate how long it might take for it to be resolved, but it can take significant time, possibly more than a year. Settlement payments to Settlement Class Members will be distributed if the Settlements are approved, and after appeals, if any, are resolved. Updates regarding the Settlements and when payments may be made will be posted on the settlement website on this website.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, and you do not opt out, you are giving up the right to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Ferrellgas, AmeriGas, or any of their respective Released Parties defined below (including without limitation their respective affiliates, agents, employees, officers, directors, and representatives) about the alleged conduct described in this lawsuit and in the release language set forth immediately below. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you, and that you agree to the following “Release of Claims,” which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you participate in these Settlements with respect to the Settling Defendants:

    Ferrellgas Release

    The Releasors do hereby release, acquit, and forever discharge the Releasees, and each of them, from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, suits, causes of action, whether class, individual, or otherwise in nature (whether or not any Class Member has objected to the settlement or makes a claim upon or participates in the Settlement Fund, whether directly, representatively, derivatively or in any other capacity) that Releasors, or any of them, ever had, now has, or hereafter can, shall, or may have on account of, or in any way arising out of, any and all known and unknown, foreseen and unforeseen, suspected or unsuspected, actual or contingent, liquidated or unliquidated, claims, causes of action, injuries, damages, and the consequences thereof in any way based on, arising out of, or relating to any conduct, act, or omission, up to the date of the execution of this Agreement, that is alleged in Plaintiffs’ Consolidated Amended Complaint (“the Complaint”) or that could have been alleged in the Complaint or in any other class action complaint filed in the Action (the “Released Claims”). For purposes of clarity, and without limitation of the foregoing, Releasors are releasing the Releasees from any claims, liability or damages that relate to or arise out of conduct by Ferrellgas with respect to the sales of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks up to the date of the execution of this Agreement. Releasors also recognize and agree that the Releasees’ continued sales of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks at 15 pounds of propane does not form the basis for any future claims or liability.

    AmeriGas Release

    The Releasors do hereby release, acquit, and forever discharge the Releasees, and each of them, from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, suits, causes of action, whether class, individual, or otherwise in nature (whether or not any Class Member has objected to the settlement or makes a claim upon or participates in the Settlement Fund, whether directly, representatively, derivatively or in any other capacity) that Releasors, or any of them, ever had, now has, or hereafter can, shall, or may have on account of, or in any way arising out of, any and all known and unknown, foreseen and unforeseen, suspected or unsuspected, actual or contingent, liquidated or unliquidated, claims, causes of action, injuries, damages, and the consequences thereof in any way based on, arising out of, or relating to any conduct, act, or omission, up to the date of the execution of this Agreement, that is alleged in Plaintiffs’ Consolidated Amended Complaint (“the Complaint”) or that could have been alleged in the Complaint or in any other class action complaint filed in the Action (the “Released Claims”). For purposes of clarity, and without limitation of the foregoing, Releasors are releasing the Releasees from any claims, liability or damages that relate to or arise out of conduct by Ferrellgas with respect to the sales of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks up to the date of the execution of this Agreement. Releasors also recognize and agree that the Releasees’ continued sales of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks at 15 pounds of propane does not form the basis for any future claims or liability.

  • The Court appointed the following law firms as Class Counsel to represent the Settlement Class:

    Kit Pierson
    COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL P.L.L.C.
    1100 New York Ave. NW, Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20005
    kpierson@cohenmilstein.com
    (202) 408-4600

    Laddie Montague
    BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C.
    1818 Market Street, Suite 3600
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    hlmontague@bm.net
    (215) 875-3000

    Steve Susman
    SUSMAN GODFREY L.L.P.
    1000 Louisiana Street, Suite 5100
    Houston, TX 77002
    ssusman@susmangodfrey.com
    (713) 651-3666

    Richard F. Lombardo
    SHAFFER LOMBARDO SHURRIN, P.C.
    2001 Wyandotte
    Kansas City, MO 64108
    rlombardo@sls-law.com
    (816) 931-0500

    These lawyers and law firms are called “Class Counsel.”

  • You do not need to hire your own lawyer because the Class Counsel are working on your behalf. If you want your own lawyer, you may hire one, but you will be responsible for any payment for that lawyer’s services. For example, you can ask your lawyer to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you. You may also appear for yourself without a lawyer.

  • Class Counsel may ask the Court to approve payment from the Settlement Funds for attorneys’ fees, which will not exceed 33 percent of the Settlement Funds. Class Counsel will not receive any portion of their fees until the Court approves such a payment. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payment from the Settlement Funds for their out-of-pocket costs and expenses.

    In connection with the Settlements, Class Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payments of up to $15,000 to each of the four individual Class Representatives as Service Awards for their service in prosecuting this case and helping to achieve the Settlements.

    The costs of providing the Notice and administering the Settlements are being paid from the Settlement Funds. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s requests, all fees, costs, and expenses would be deducted from the Settlement Funds.

  • If you fall within the Settlement Class Definition but don’t want a payment from the Settlements, or if you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Ferrellgas or AmeriGas about the issues in this case (at your own expense), then you must opt out of the Settlements.

    To opt out of the Settlements, you must send a letter or written request to the Notice and Claims Administrator at the address below saying that you want to opt out of the Settlements in In re: Pre-Filled Propane Antitrust Litigation, with your full legal name and the name(s) of the Defendant company or companies (i.e., Ferrellgas or AmeriGas) from whom you directly purchased or exchanged Filled Propane Exchange Tanks during the Settlement Class period. You must also sign your request.

    If the Notice was first mailed to you in February 2020, the deadline to opt out of the Settlement(s) was March 30, 2020. If the Notice was first mailed to you in April 2020, to opt out of the Settlements, you must submit your opt out request letter postmarked no later than June 5, 2020 (or received by the Notice and Claims Administrator by that date if sent by fax or email) to the following address:

    Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91226
    Seattle, WA 98111

    Email: info@propanedirectpurchaser.com
    Fax: 206-788-8766

    You cannot opt out by telephone.

    If you request to opt out of the Settlements, you will not be legally bound by the Settlements, and you will be able to sue Ferrellgas and AmeriGas in the future about the claims in this case.

    If you ask to opt out of the Settlements, you will not receive payment from the Settlements, and you will not be able to object to the Settlements.

  • No. If you are a Settlement Class Member, unless you opt out of the Settlements, you give up the right to sue Ferrellgas, AmeriGas, and the Released Parties for any claim that the Settlements resolve as more fully described in Question 16 above.

    If you have a pending lawsuit against Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, or any related entities, or against any Released Parties defined above, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately, because you may need to opt out of the Settlements to continue your own lawsuit. The process for opting out of the Settlements is described in the preceding sections.

  • If you opt out of the Settlements, you will not receive money from the Settlements. You will keep the right to sue Ferrellgas and AmeriGas on your own about the same claims in the lawsuit should you want to do so.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can comment on or object to the Settlements if you like or don’t like any part of the Settlements. You can give reasons why you think the Court should or should not approve the Settlements. You cannot ask the Court to order a larger settlement. If the Court denies approval of either Settlement, no settlement payments will be sent out with respect to that Settlement and the lawsuit will continue against that defendant.

    All comments and objections must be in writing, signed, and must include the following:

    1. your name, address, telephone number, email address and signature;
    2. the case name and number (In re Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2567, Master Case Number 14-02567-MD-W-GAF);
    3. the identity of the Settlement(s) to which you are objecting (Ferrellgas or AmeriGas, or both);
    4. a summary of any other objections you or an attorney on your behalf filed to any class action settlements submitted to any court in the United States in the previous five years; and
    5. a detailed statement of your comments or objections, including the grounds for your objections, if any, together with any supporting documents.

    All comments and objections must be submitted by mail to the Notice and Claims Administrator at the address listed in Question 28. If the Notice was first mailed to you in February 2020, the deadline to comment on or object to the Settlement(s) was March 30, 2020. If the Notice was first mailed to you in April 2020, comments or objections must be filed or postmarked on or before June 5, 2020.

    You do not need to attend or speak at the Fairness Hearing (described in Question 24 below) for your comments or objections to be considered. If you would like to speak at the Fairness Hearing about your comments or objections to the Settlement(s), please add to your letter a statement that you intend to appear and speak at the hearing, for example, by stating “This is my Notice of Intention to Appear at the Fairness Hearing for In re Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation.”

    IF YOU CHOOSE TO OPT OUT OF THE SETTLEMENTS, YOU WILL HAVE NO RIGHT TO SPEAK AT THE HEARING ABOUT THE SETTLEMENTS OR OBJECT TO THEM, BECAUSE THE SETTLEMENTS WILL NO LONGER AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS.

  • The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at June 17, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at the following courtroom:

    The Honorable Gary A. Fenner
    Courtroom 8A
    The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division
    Charles Evans Whittaker U.S. Courthouse
    400 E. 9th Street
    Kansas City, MO 64106

    At this hearing, the Court will consider the Settlements and determine whether they are fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are timely written comments or objections, the Court will consider them. If you have filed a timely request to be heard at the hearing, you or your attorney will be allowed to speak at the hearing. The Court will also decide how much to award to Class Counsel in attorneys’ fees and expenses and whether to approve the payment of Service Awards to the Class Representatives. At or after the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlements.

    Fairness Hearings are rarely rescheduled, but you should be sure to check this website for news of any such changes.

  • No. Class Counsel will be present at the Fairness Hearing to answer any questions the Court may have. You are welcome to come at your own expense, so long as you have submitted a timely request to appear at the hearing. If you send comments or objections to the Settlements, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written comments or objections on time, the Court will consider them. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not required.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member and you do nothing, you will receive money from the Settlements, calculated as described above in Question 13. In exchange for receiving money from the Settlements, you will give up or “release” your claims against Ferrellgas and AmeriGas and the Released Parties in this lawsuit. You will not be able to participate in, or collect money damages from, any other lawsuit against Ferrellgas or AmeriGas or the Released Parties related to any alleged conspiracy by Defendants to inflate the prices of Filled Propane Exchange Tanks by agreeing, during the Settlement Class Period, to reduce the fill levels in their Filled Propane Exchange Tanks and by allocating customers and markets between themselves. (See Question 16 for the exact definition of the claims you are giving up.)

  • The Court has appointed an independent, experienced, professional Notice and Claims Administrator, JND Legal Administration. The Notice and Claims Administrator will establish and follow procedures to protect the confidentiality of the identity of persons receiving payments or opting out. The Notice and Claims Administrator will issue settlement checks. The list of those Settlement Class Members receiving checks will be generated based on Defendants’ records and will not be shared with the Court or Class Counsel.

    The Notice and Claims Administrator will also receive requests to opt out of the Settlements and any comments and objections to the Settlements. The Notice and Claims Administrator will share requests to opt out of the Settlements, any comments and objections to the Settlements, and any requests to be heard at the Fairness Hearing with Class Counsel and counsel for the Defendants, as well as with the Court. Objections to the Settlements, as well as the names of those who opt out of the Settlements, will become part of the public record in the court file.

  • Yes. The notice summarizes the proposed Settlements. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlements, please see the Settlement Agreements available on the Important Documents page. For all of the documents filed with the Court in the lawsuit, you can also access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.mowd.uscourts.gov.

    If you have additional questions, please contact the Notice and Claims Administrator:

    Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91226
    Seattle, WA 98111

    Phone Number: 1-888-304-0198
    Email: info@propanedirectpurchaser.com

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE
    ABOUT THE SETTLEMENTS OR THE CLAIMS PROCESS.

     

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Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91226
Seattle, WA 98111