In re Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this Lawsuit About?
  2. What are Korean Noodles (as defined for Direct Purchasers)?
  3. What are Korean Noodle Products (as defined for Indirect Purchasers)?
  4. What are Direct Purchases?
  5. What are Indirect Purchases?
  6. What are the Class Periods?
  7. Who are the Defendants?
  8. Why is this a Class Action?
  9. How do I know if I am included?
  10. How will I receive a payment from one or more future settlements or judgments?
  11. What happens if I do nothing at all?
  12. How do I request exclusion?
  13. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants later?
  14. If I exclude myself, can I get money from future settlements or a judgment?
  15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  16. How will the lawyers be paid?
  17. How do I get more information?
  18. Can I update my address?
  1. What is this Lawsuit About?

    Plaintiffs in this case allege that Defendants conspired to fix the prices of Korean Noodles in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and is known as In re Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:13-CV-4115-WHO-DMR (N.D. Cal.).

    Both the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs filed complaints alleging that the Defendants conspired to illegally fix, raise, maintain, and/or stabilize prices of Korean Noodles purchased in the United States in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. These Complaints were filed on March 24, 2014 (Direct Purchaser Consolidated Amended Complaint) and on December 3, 2014 (Amended Consolidated Indirect Purchaser Class Action Complaint) (collectively, the "Complaints").

    The lawsuit claims that any person or entity that purchased Korean Noodles directly or indirectly from any Defendant during the Class Period paid a higher price than they otherwise would have paid in a competitive market. The lawsuit seeks to recover three times the actual damages that Plaintiffs allege the Defendants’ conduct caused, as well as injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and costs. 

    On January 19, 2017, the Court certified a Class of Direct and Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs.

    Top

  2. What are Korean Noodles (as defined for Direct Purchasers)?

    For the Direct Purchaser Class, Korean noodles are defined as instant noodle soup products consisting of dried instant noodles paired with a seasoning packet and dehydrated vegetables, packaged in a bag (or pouch), cup, or bowl, sold under the Nongshim or Ottogi brand names.

    Top

  3. What are Korean Noodle Products (as defined for Indirect Purchasers)?

    For the Indirect Purchaser Class, Korean Noodle Products are defined as Nongshim, Ottogi and Samyang branded bag, cup or bowl ramen, including fried, dried, fresh and frozen noodle products.

    Top

  4. What are Direct Purchases?

    A “direct” purchase means that you bought one or more of the Korean Noodles from one or more of the Defendants.

    To be valid, your direct purchase(s) must have been made during the Direct Purchaser Class Period of April 1, 2003 through January 31, 2010, and the Korean Noodles must have been purchased in the United States and its territories.

    If you bought Korean Noodles from a company other than one of the Defendants, it is not a direct purchase for purposes of this lawsuit. You are not required to have purchased exclusively from one or more of the Defendants in order to be considered a direct purchaser for purposes of this lawsuit as long as you purchased Korean Noodles from any Defendant during the Class Period.

    Top

  5. What are Indirect Purchases?

    An “indirect” purchase means that you bought one or more Korean Noodle Products not from one of the Defendants directly but, rather, from a grocery store or other retailer, for your own use and not for resale.

    To be valid, your indirect purchase(s) must have been made during the Indirect Purchaser Class Period of March 1, 2003 through January 31, 2010, and the Korean Noodle Products must have been purchased in the state(s) of Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia.

    Top

  6. What are the Class Periods?

    The Direct Purchaser Class Period is April 1, 2003 - January 31, 2010.

    The Indirect Purchaser Class Period is March 1, 2003 - January 31, 2010.

    Top

  7. Who are the Defendants?

    The Direct and Indirect Purchaser Defendants include Nong Shim Company Ltd., Nong Shim America, Inc., Ottogi Company Ltd. and Ottogi America, Inc.

    Previously, claims were settled against Samyang Foods Co. Ltd. 

    Korea Yakult Company, who sells its products in the United States under the Paldo brand, was previously a defendant but has been dismissed from the lawsuit. 

    Top

  8. Why is this a Class Action?

    In a class action, one or more people and/or companies, called class representatives, sue on behalf of people and companies who have similar claims. Together, they make up a class. In a class action, one court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves.

    The Direct Purchasers' class representatives in this case are plaintiffs The Plaza Market, Pacific Groservice, Inc. d/b/a Pitco Foods, Summit Import Corporation, and Rockman Company U.S.A. Inc.

    The Indirect Purchasers' class representatives in this case are plaintiffs Joyce Beamer, Kendal Martin, Anthony An, Eleanor Pelobello, Kenny Kang, Christina Nguyen, Thu-thuy Nguyen, Yim Ha Noble, Ji Choi and Charles Chung.

    Top

  9. How do I know if I am included?

     

    The Direct Purchaser Class is defined as:

    All individuals and entities that directly purchased Korean Noodles in the United States and its territories from one or more Defendants from April 1, 2003 through January 31, 2010.

    Any person or entity that fits this description and does not timely request exclusion from the Direct Class is a Direct Class Member, and is affected by the litigation. For purposes of determining whether you therefore a member of the Direct Class, you must have purchased either Nongshim or Ottogi brand Korean Ramen.

     

    The Indirect Purchaser Class is defined as:

    All persons and entities that purchased “Korean Ramen Noodles” in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia for their own use and not for resale, from March 1, 2003 through January 31, 2010.

     

    It is possible for you to be a member of both the Direct and Indirect Purchaser Class.

    Top

  10. How will I receive a payment from one or more future settlements or judgments?

    The attorneys for the Direct and Indirect Purchaser Classes will pursue the litigation against the Defendants. Members of the Classes may receive distributions in the future from any sums obtained from settlements or judgments against any of the Defendants, but there is no guarantee of any money.

    Top

  11. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you are a Direct and/or an Indirect Purchaser Class Member and you do nothing, you will remain in the Class.

    Top

  12. How do I request exclusion?

    To exclude yourself from either the Direct Purchaser Class or the Indirect Purchaser Class, you must send a letter saying that you want to be excluded from the Class(es). The letter must include the following information:

     

      • A statement that you want to be excluded from the Class for the Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation. This statement must include whether you wish to be excluded from the Direct Purchaser Class, the Indirect Purchaser Class, or both.
      • The case name: In re Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:13-CV-4115-WHO-DMR (N.D. Cal.).
      • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
      • All trade names or business names and addresses you or your company have used, as well as the names of any subsidiaries or affiliates of your business that also are requesting to be excluded from the Class.

     

    Your letter must be postmarked by June 9, 2017, and sent to:

     

    Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation
    c/o KCC Class Action Services
    P.O. Box 43434
    Providence RI 02940-3434

     

    If you ask to be excluded from either the Direct or Indirect Class (or both), you will not get any potential payments from future settlements or judgments, and you cannot object to future settlements. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants.

     

    You may not exclude yourself from the Direct Purchaser Injunctive Relief Class. The class representatives have requested that the Court enter an order enjoining the Defendants from engaging in any further conduct that violates U.S. antitrust laws. The Court will decide whether such an order will issue, and its scope, at an appropriate time in the future. That ruling will be binding on all members of that Injunctive Relief Class.

    Top

  13. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants later?

    No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Defendants individually. If you have a pending lawsuit against any of the Defendants involving the issues in this case, speak to your own lawyer in that case immediately. It may be necessary for you to exclude yourself in order to continue your own lawsuit.

    Top

  14. If I exclude myself, can I get money from future settlements or a judgment?

    No. If you decide to exclude yourself, you will not be eligible to request money from any future settlement or judgment.

    Top

  15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has appointed the law firms of Glancy Prongay and Murray LLP and Hausfeld LLP to represent the Direct Purchaser Class and has appointed the law firms of Izard, Kindall & Raabe, LLP and Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP to represent the Indirect Purchaser Class. 

    These lawyers are called Class Counsel. 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.

    Top

  16. How will the lawyers be paid?

    To date, Class Counsel have not been paid any attorneys’ fees, are prosecuting the litigation on a wholly contingent fee basis, and do not intend to seek any payment of attorneys’ fees at this time.

    Class Counsel obtained permission to use a portion of funds from a previous settlement to reimburse past and future expenses incurred in prosecuting the lawsuit. Class Members shall have no obligation to pay any fees or expenses of Class Counsel. Any fees and expenses will be paid only out of settlement funds or funds obtained in judgment.

    Top

  17. How do I get more information?

    This website summarizes the litigation and your options as a Class Member. You can learn more about the litigation by calling 1(877) 368-8668, or writing to Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, c/o KCC Class Action Services, P.O. Box 43434, Providence, RI 02940-3434.

    You may also access the Court docket in this case through the Court's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Phillip Burton Building & United States Courthouse, 16th Floor, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

     

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK'S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THE CASE

     

    You may also write to Class Counsel at the following addresses:

    For Direct Purchaser Class Members:

    Lee Albert

    GLANCY PRONGAY & MURRAY LLP

    122 East 42nd Street. Suite 2920

    New York, NY 10168

    Christopher Lebsock

    HAUSFELD LLP

    600 Montgomery St., Suite 3200

    San Francisco, CA 94104

     

     

    For Indirect Purchaser Class Members: 

    Daniel E. Birkhaeuser

    BRAMSON, PLUTZIK, MAHLER & BIRKHAEUSER, LLP

    2125 Oak Grove Road, Suite 120

    Walnut Creek, CA 94598

    Robert A. Izard

    IZARD KINDALL & RAABE LLP

    29 South Main Street, Suite 305

    West Hartford, CT 06107

     

    If you would like to be notified via email of updates to this website, please click here.

    Top

  18. Can I update my address?

    Yes. If your address changes, please contact the Class Administrator at info@ramenclassaction.com or by mail at Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, c/o KCC Class Action Services, P.O. Box 43434, Providence, RI 02940-3434.

    Top