Blue Buffalo Agrees to Settle Class Action Lawsuits
Wilton, Conn.-based Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, Blue Buffalo Co. Ltd., has entered into a settlement agreement in the class action lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers and consolidated in the Multi-District Litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits claim, among other things, that certain Blue Buffalo products were not consistent with the “True Blue Promise.” Blue Buffalo denies any wrongdoing and has agreed to this settlement to eliminate the uncertainties, burden and expense of further litigation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Blue Buffalo will pay $32 million into a settlement fund to settle the claims of the plaintiff class. Any attorneys’ fees awarded by the court and all costs of notice and claims administration will be paid from the settlement fund. The amount that each class member who submits a claim for reimbursement will receive will depend on the total amount of Blue Buffalo products purchased by the claimant during the class period and certain other conditions.
“More than a year ago, we informed our pet parents about the misconduct of a former ingredient supplier and a broker,” said Bill Bishop, chairman and founder of Blue Buffalo. “While we will continue to pursue our claims against them, we decided that it is in the best interest of our pet parents and our company to resolve the class actions now. All of us at Blue Buffalo continue to work tirelessly to make pet food with the finest natural ingredients for our furry family members.”
The settlement agreement is subject to preliminary and final approval by the court.
In connection with the proposed settlement, Blue Buffalo expects to record a pre-tax charge of $32 million ($20 million after tax), which will be recorded as a discrete item in SG&A in the fourth quarter of 2015. The company intends to pay for the settlement with cash on hand.