A King County Superior Court Judge has ruled that Starkist Tuna engaged in a price fixing scheme that occurred at least between November 2011 and December 2013; although the Washington State AG's office argues it went on longer.

This information was released Tuesday by the AG's office.

This is separate from a Federal national lawsuit claiming  Starkist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee engaged in deliberate manipulations to keep tuna prices higher; or price fixing.

AG Bob Ferguson had filed the original suit in June 2020, against former Bumble Bee Foods CEO Christopher Lischewski and Starkist and it's parent company Dongwon Industries for allegedly engaging in price fixing to drive up the prices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

The AG's office said Lischewski had complained the price of tuna was "too cheap" and subordinates said he gave specific, clear directions on the price fixing. Most of the pricing involved anywhere from $.5 to $.8 cents per can or packet of product, based upon an example given by the AG's office.

Last October, a legally binding agreement was made between the former CEO and the State of Washington, where Lischewski will pay $100K to the state. He is currently serving a 40 month Federal term related to this case.

According to the AG's office:

"Judge Spector’s decision resolves a portion of the Attorney General’s claims against StarKist. Ferguson’s office asserts that StarKist’s conduct took place over a longer period of time, between 2004-2015, and plans to prove that at trial. Ferguson is seeking both monetary and injunctive relief to hold Starkist accountable and prevent the company and its executives from engaging in corporate price-fixing conspiracies in the future."

The judge's ruling now means WA state can proceed with a trial to try to prove the price fixing went on longer than first thought.

WA was the first state to sue via Consumer Protection Act in relation to this Federal case.

Charley Tuna behind bars? Sad thought! Sorry, Charlie...!


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