You have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.
The Court in charge of this case is the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (the “Court”), and the case is called Salerno, et al v. Kirk’s Natural, LLC, Case Number 1:21-cv-04987-BMC. The individuals who sued are called the Plaintiffs, and the company Plaintiffs sued, Kirk’s Natural, LLC is called the Defendant.
The lawsuit alleges that the South of France Products are misleading because the name of the Products, French translations, images of the southern French coastline, and other statements and iconograph on the labels give consumers the mistaken belief that the Products, which are manufactured in the United States, are from France.
The Defendant denies any and all wrongdoing of any kind whatsoever, and denies any liability to Plaintiffs and to the Settlement Class.
In a class action, one or more people, called “Class Representative(s),” sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All the people who have similar claims are in a “class” and are “class members,” except for those who exclude themselves from the class. United States District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is the judge presiding over the lawsuit.
The Defendant is not admitting that it did anything wrong, but both sides want to avoid the cost of further litigation. The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or the Defendant. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for everyone who is affected. The Settlement provides the opportunity for Settlement Class Members to receive Settlement benefits.
Who is in the Settlement
The Settlement Class includes all persons who, from September 3, 2015 to August 12, 2022, purchased one or more of the Products for personal or household use, and not for resale, in the United States. Excluded from the Settlement Class and Settlement Class Members are: (a) persons who purchased Products for the purpose of resale; (b) the directors, officers, employees, and attorneys of Defendant, its parents and subsidiaries; (c) governmental entities; (d) the Court, the Court’s immediate family, and Court staff; (e) the Honorable Wayne Andersen (Ret.) and his immediate family; and (f) any person that timely and properly excludes himself or herself from the Settlement Class in accordance with the procedures approved by the Court.
The Products covered by this Settlement are products sold under the brand name South of France in the United States. A complete list of products is available by clicking here .
The Settlement provides that Defendant will pay eligible Claims submitted by Settlement Class Members, up to a total of $650,000. Settlement Class Members who timely submit valid Claim Forms are entitled to receive a cash payment from the Settlement. Defendant will pay separately the costs of Notice and Claim Administration, as well as any award of Attorney Fees or Service Award.
If you submit a valid Claim Form by the May 1, 2023 deadline, you can get a payment from the Settlement for up to two dollars ($2.00) per product, for up to 10 products without proof of purchase, and up to 40 products with proof of purchase. Any claims with proof of purchase will not count against your total claims without proof of purchase. The actual amount recovered by each Settlement Class Member will not be determined until after the Claims Period has ended and all Claims have been calculated. If the total amount of eligible Claims exceeds $650,000, each eligible Claim will be reduced on a pro rata basis.
Unless you timely exclude yourself from the Settlement, you cannot sue the Defendant, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant about the claims released in this Settlement. It also means that all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. Below is a summary of Released Claims. The full Release is described more fully in the Settlement Agreement and describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you stay in the Settlement Class. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents page of this website.
“Released Claims” means any and all claims, whether known or unknown, arising from the purchase of the South of France Products based on all outstanding and purported claims, including without limitation the labeling or other claims asserted in the Amended Complaint in the Litigation, relating to the French Representations on the labeling of the South of France Products that were, or could have been, alleged in the Litigation to be false, misleading, or non-compliant with federal or state laws or regulations during the Class Period against the Released Parties under federal, state, or any other law or regulation. For sake of clarity Released Claims do not cover claims, if any, for personal injury.
How to get a Payment
To be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlement, you must complete and submit a timely Claim Form online no later than May 1, 2023, OR via first-class United States Mail, postmarked no later than May 1, 2023.
You can complete and submit your Claim Form online by visiting the Submit Claim page.
Or, the Claim Form can be downloaded from the this website by visiting the Important Documents page, and mailed to the Settlement Administrator by first-class United States Mail to the address below. Additionally, you can request a Claim Form be sent to you by sending a written request to the Settlement Administrator by mail or by email.
South of France Products Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Please read the instructions carefully.
If you do not submit a valid Claim Form by the May 1, 2023 deadline, you will not receive a payment.
Payments will be sent to Settlement Class Members who send in valid and timely Claim Forms after the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement and after any and all appeals are resolved. If the Court approves the Settlement after a hearing on January 30, 2023, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time.
Excluding Yourself from the Settlement
If you do not want a payment from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the Defendant on your own about the claims released in this Settlement, then you must take steps to do so. This is called excluding yourself—or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
To exclude yourself (or “Opt-Out”) from the Settlement, you must complete and mail to the Settlement Administrator a written request that includes the following:
- Your name and address;
- The name of the case: Salerno, et al v. Kirk’s Natural, LLC, Case Number 1:21-cv-04987-BMC;
- A statement that you want to be excluded from this Settlement; and
- Your signature. Your exclusion request must be personally signed.
You must mail your exclusion request via first-class United States Mail, it must be delivered to the Settlement Administrator (not just postmarked or sent) prior to January 6, 2023 to:
South of France Products Settlement
Attn: Opt Out
P.O. Box 58220
Philadelphia, PA 19102
If you do not include the required information or submit your request for exclusion on time, you will remain a Settlement Class Member and will not be able to sue the Defendant about the claims in this lawsuit.
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit. If you properly exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will not be bound by any orders or judgments entered in the Action relating to the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement can be located on the Important Documents page of this website.
No. You will not get any money from the Settlement if you exclude yourself. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, do not send in a Claim Form asking for benefits.
Objecting with the Settlement
A Settlement Class Member may object to the proposed Settlement. A Settlement Class Member may object to the Settlement either on his or her own without an attorney, or through an attorney hired at his or her expense. Any objection must be in writing, signed by the Settlement Class Member (and his or her attorney, if individually represented), it must be delivered to the Settlement Administrator (not just postmarked or sent) prior to January 6, 2023. Any objection shall contain a caption or title that identifies it as “Objection to Class Settlement in Salerno, et al v. Kirk’s Natural, LLC, Case Number 1:21-cv-04987-BMC.”
The written objection must include: (i) the case name and number: Salerno v. Kirk’s Natural LLC, Case No. 21-cv-04987-BMC; (ii) the name, address and telephone number of the objector; (iii) the name, address, and telephone number of all counsel (if any) who represent the objector, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason if the objection is successful, and legal and factual support for the right to such compensation; (iv) documents or testimony sufficient to establish membership in the Settlement Class; (v) a detailed statement of any objection asserted, including the grounds therefor; (vi) whether the objector is, and any reasons for, requesting the opportunity to appear and be heard at the final approval hearing; (vii) the identity of all counsel (if any) representing the objector who will appear at the final approval hearing and, if applicable, a list of all persons who will be called to testify in support of the objection; (viii) copies of any papers, briefs, or other documents upon which the objection is based; (ix) a detailed list of any other objections submitted by the Settlement Class Member, or his/her counsel, to any class Litigations submitted in any state or federal court in the United States in the previous five (5) years (or affirmatively stating that no such prior objection has been made); and (x) the objector’s signature, in addition to the signature of the objector’s attorney (if any).
Your objection, along with any supporting material you wish to submit, must be delivered to the Settlement Administrator (not just postmarked or sent) prior to January 6, 2023.
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. Excluding yourself from the Settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.
The Lawyers Representing You
Yes. The Court has appointed Reese LLP as “Class Counsel,” meaning that they were appointed to represent all Settlement Class Members.
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
Class Counsel intends to file a motion on or before December 16, 2022, seeking $385,000.00 for attorney fees and costs. The fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid in addition to the amounts paid to claimants under the terms of the Settlement. The Court will determine the amount of fees and expenses to award. Class Counsel will also request that the Court award $6,000 to the named Plaintiffs ($3,000.00 for each named Plaintiff) who helped Class Counsel on behalf of the whole Class.
The Courts Fairness Hearing
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on January 30, 2023 at 4:45 p.m., at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, before the Honorable Brian M. Cogan, United States District Judge, at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider how much to pay Class Counsel and the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Court may have, but you may come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time to the proper addresses, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.
Yes. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear.” Please refer to question 16 above for more information.
Your Notice of Intent to Appear must be filed with the Court and served on Class Counsel and Defendant’s Counsel no later than January 16, 2023.
If You Do Nothing
If you do nothing, you will not get a payment from the Settlement. Unless you exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant about the legal issues in this case, ever again.
Getting More Information
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Class Action Settlement Agreement . You can review a complete copy the Settlement Agreement and other information on the Important Documents page of this website. If you have additional questions or want to request a Claim Form , you can do so by clicking here. You can also write to the Settlement Administrator by mail or email or call the toll-free number below.
South of France Products Settlement
c/o Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Updates will be posted on this website as information about the Settlement process becomes available.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK’S OFFICE CONCERNING THIS CASE.