Bumble Bee Foods LLC pleads guilty to fixing prices for packaged tuna

Bumble Bee Foods LLC will plead guilty to fixing prices for packaged tuna and pay a criminal fine of at least $25 million in the first charges to be filed against a corporation in the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing criminal antitrust investigation into the seafood industry, the DOJ said Monday, May 8, 2017.

According to the DOJ, Bumble Bee colluded to inflate tuna prices from 2011 through 2013. The DOJ alleged that Bumble Bee representatives attended meetings with counterparts at other seafood companies to carry out a conspiracy to maintain packaged tuna prices at artificially high levels.

The investigation has sparked lawsuits by private parties that have accused Bumble Bee, StarKist Co. and Tri-Union Seafoods LLC, doing business as Chicken of the Sea, of fixing the price of packaged tuna products in the U.S. Several class actions over the allegations have been consolidated in the Southern District of California. The lawsuits, including one by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., allege that the companies conspired to fix the price of packaged tuna beginning sometime between 2008 and 2010 and ending in July 2015.

Keith Dubanevich
Keith is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer with over 35 years of experience in more than a dozen different jurisdictions around the country. With a focus on complex dispute resolution, Keith is adept at handling multi-state and international antitrust cases, consumer litigation, and securities disputes. Keith has argued appeals in multiple state and federal appellate courts, and handled appeals to the U. S. Supreme Court. Keith’s clients value his keen instincts in court and his ability to delve into complex legal issues while never losing sight of the overall strategy of a case. A judge commented that during a recent trial Keith was “remarkably thorough, … prepared, respectful, and efficient.” Keith has also received high praise from his peers including this comment about a recent arbitration proceeding: “I was so impressed with your professionalism and effectiveness. Your whole presentation was a model of what an advocate should be.” During his time at the Oregon Department of Justice as Associate Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Keith led the creation of a civil rights unit, managed securities litigation including multiple cases against financial services companies, and supervised antitrust investigations and prosecutions. He was also involved with the adoption of legislation that expanded the Unlawful Trade Practices Act to include financial services companies.


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