Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a class action?
- What are these lawsuits about?
- Why is there a settlement?
- Am I part of the settlement class?
- What benefits can I receive from the settlement?
- How do I file a claim and receive payment or free Red Bull products?
- When will I get my payment?
- What other relief is provided under the settlement?
- What am I giving up to stay in the class and receive benefits under the settlement?
- What does it mean to exclude myself or opt out of the settlement?
- How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
- If I exclude myself, can I get money in the settlement?
- How do I tell the court that I do not like the settlement?
- What if I do not file an objection?
- What's the difference between excluding myself and objecting to the settlement?
- When and where is the hearing?
- May I speak at the hearing?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- How will my representatives be paid?
- Are more details about the settlement available?
- How do I get more information?
A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more individuals sue another party on behalf of all other people who are in a similar position. The individuals who actually bring the lawsuit are referred to as the Class Representatives, while all of the other people who are in a similar position as the Class Representatives are referred to as the Class or Class Members.
In a class action, the Court resolves certain legal issues, legal claims and defenses for all class members in one lawsuit, except for those individuals who expressly ask to be excluded from the class. What that means in this case is that, if the Court approves the class action settlement, the settlement will bind all members of the class with respect to all of the settled legal claims unless individual class members properly and timely exclude themselves from the class pursuant to the procedures discussed below.
This settlement addresses two consumer class action lawsuits currently consolidated and pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: (1) Benjamin Careathers v. Red Bull North America, Inc., Case No. 1:13-CV-00369 (KPF); and (2) Wolf, et al. v. Red Bull GmbH, et al., Case No. 1:13-CV-08008 (KPF). The consumers who brought these lawsuits as Class Representatives, Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almaraz, are called the “Plaintiffs,” and the company they sued, Red Bull, is called the “Defendant.” Red Bull North America, Inc., Red Bull Distribution Company and Red bull GmbH are referred to collectively as "Red Bull".
Plaintiffs brought these lawsuits, alleging that Red Bull’s Marketing and labelling misrepresents both the functionality and safety of Red Bull beverages. Plaintiffs made claims against Red Bull for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of various states’ consumer protection statutes. Red Bull denies any and all wrongdoing or liability, and maintain that its marketing and labelling have always been truthful and accurate.
The Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiffs or Red Bull. There have been no decisions by the Court concerning the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims or the propriety of the class action mechanism, nor has there been any trial. Instead, Plaintiffs and Defendant negotiated and ultimately agreed to this settlement after counsel for all parties extensively evaluated the facts and law relating to this case, and took into account a variety of factors such as the burdens and expense of the lawsuit, the risk and uncertainty of litigation, the difficulties and delays inherent in such litigation, and the benefits available to the Settlement Class under the Stipulation. Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe that the settlement is in the best interest of the Settlement Class Members.
The Settlement Class includes all persons who made at least one purchase of Red Bull products in the United States between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014. Excluded from the Settlement Class are:
- (a) employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives of (1) Defendants and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates, and (2) all distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and licensors of Red Bull products;
- (b) those who purchased Red Bull products for the purpose of re-sale;
- (c) all federal judges who have presided over either of the Actions; and
- (d) all persons who have been properly excluded from the Settlement Class.
If you are a qualified Settlement Class Member and submitted a Claim Form, you may have chosen to receive one of the following two benefit options:
- A cash reimbursement (in the form of a check) of $10.00; or
- Free Red Bull products (either Red Bull ® Energy Drink or Red Bull ® Sugarfree, as selected on the Claim Form) with a retail value of approximately $15.00 (the “Product Option”).
Under the terms of the settlement, certain conditions may lead to Settlement Class Members with valid claims receiving either less or more than the amounts specified. For example, the cash reimbursed and/or value of the products fulfilling the Product Option will be reduced proportionately among all Settlement Class Members with valid Claims if the total amount of eligible claims exceeds the thirteen million dollar ($13,000,000.00) fund (minus applicable notice and tax expenses) provided by Red Bull for the settlement – referred to as the “Settlement Fund.” If, on the other hand, there are excess funds in the Settlement Fund at the end of the claims period, such funds may be used to increase proportionally the amount of validly claimed cash reimbursements or products fulfilling the Product Option, depending on the rate of participation in the settlement by Class Members.
With respect to the Product Option, product packaging (e.g. a four-pack) and sizing (e.g. 8.4 ounce cans) shall be determined by Red Bull at its discretion after the final value of the Product Option has been determined. The free Red Bull products selected on the Claim Form will be shipped by Red Bull directly to class members at Red Bull’s cost. However, if shipment of Red Bull products to a particular Settlement Class Member is not feasible or commercially reasonable, then Red Bull may substitute cash reimbursement for that particular Settlement Class Member.
Please note that checks distributed to those Settlement Class Members that claim the cash reimbursement will only be cashable for a period of one hundred and twenty (120) days after the check’s issuance date. Depending on the amount of uncashed checks following that 120 day period, such amount may be either: (i) distributed proportionately to all Settlement Class Members that did cash their reimbursement check within the 120 day notice period; or (ii) donated to charity.
The deadline to submit a Claim Form has passed.
The Court held a hearing on May 1, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. and approved the settlement. Unless there are appeals, payments to eligible Claimants will be distributed within 150 days after the Court grants final approval of the settlement. Cash reimbursement in the form of a check will be made directly to eligible Claimants by first class mail after entitlement to payment to all eligible Claimants is determined. Red Bull products fulfilling the Product Option will be shipped directly to eligible Claimants selecting the Product Option after entitlement to payment to all eligible Claimants is determined via a shipping method to be determined by Red Bull at its discretion. Please be patient. However, if shipment of Red Bull products to a particular Settlement Class Member is not feasible or commercially reasonable then Red Bull may substitute cash reimbursement for that particular Settlement Class Member.
As part of the settlement relief, Red Bull has voluntarily updated its marketing materials and product labeling directed at United States consumers and, while Red Bull believes that its marketing and labelling have always been truthful and accurate, confirms that all future claims about the functional benefits of its Products will be medically and/or scientifically supported. Red Bull has also agreed to work with Plaintiffs’ counsel to work on a mechanism to prevent United States Red Bull purchasers from inadvertently accessing Red Bull’s foreign websites, which may contain different statements and representations than those found on Red Bull’s U.S. website and marketing materials.
The parties have agreed, however, that Red Bull may sell off its existing supply of Products bearing the prior version of labels and older marketing materials until exhausted, but in no event later than September 1, 2014.
If you meet the definition of a Class Member you are part of the Settlement Class unless you filed a request for exclusion. As part of the Settlement Class you will be bound by the settlement and Court order whether or not you file a Claim Form or receive an award.
Settlement Class Members who did not validly exclude themselves from the Settlement Class will be deemed to have released Red Bull and other “Released Persons” (defined in the Stipulation to include Red Bull’s “subsidiaries and affiliates, divisions, as well as their distributors, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, customers and licensors, including the officers, directors, employees, shareholders, principals, agents, successors, insurers, attorneys, spokespersons, public relations firms, advertising and production agencies, and assigns of all such Persons or entities”).
The release extends to all “Released Claims,” defined in the Stipulation to include “any and all actions, claims, demands, rights, suits, and causes of action of whatever kind or nature against the Released Persons . . . arising out of or relating to the manufacturing, advertising, marketing, packaging, promotion, sale, and distribution of the Products from the beginning of time to the Effective Date of the Settlement, which have been asserted or which could reasonably have been asserted by the Class . . . including any claims arising after the date of final approval which could be asserted based on labels or advertising in existence as of the date of final approval of the Stipulation.” The release does not encompass any personal injury claims.
In connection with the Released Claims, each Settlement Class Member shall be deemed to have waived any and all provisions, rights, and benefits conferred by § 1542 of the California Civil Code (and similar state laws) which provides:
A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.
If you are a Settlement Class Member, you will automatically be bound by the terms of the settlement, including the releases, unless you took affirmative steps to exclude yourself or “opt out” of the Settlement Class. If you chose to “opt out” of the Settlement Class, you will not: (1) be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit; (2) get any payment pursuant to this settlement; (3) gain any rights under the settlement; or (4) be able to object to any aspect of the settlement.
The deadline to exclude yourself or "opt out" has passed.
To exclude yourself or “opt out” of the settlement, you must have mailed or delivered a written request for exclusion to the Class Action Settlement Administrator postmarked or delivered no later than April 1, 2015.
No. If you exclude yourself, do not send in a Claim Form to ask for money or free Red Bull products. Also, you cannot object to the settlement.
The deadline to object to the settlement has passed.
Any Settlement Class Member who did not make his or her objections according to the requirements waived their objections to the settlement, to payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses, and to payment of incentive awards to the Class Representatives.
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don't like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class. You are bound by the settlement even if you object, and may receive benefits pursuant to the settlement.
Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don't want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case and the settlement no longer binds you. You will not receive any benefits pursuant to the settlement.
The Court scheduled a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on May 1, 2015, in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York, 10007, in Courtroom 618 of the Honorable Katherine Polk Failla. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, and whether to enter final judgment in light of the settlement.
The Final Approval Hearing was held on May 1, 2015 and the settlement was approved.
You may have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing to object to: (i) the settlement; (ii) dismissal of the lawsuit in light of the settlement; (iii) the release of Settlement Class Members’ claims against Red Bull and other Released Parties (as defined in the Stipulation); (iv) Class Counsel's request and/or other requests for attorneys' fees and expenses; or (v) the Class Representatives’ request for incentive awards.
To speak at the hearing, you must have sent a letter to the Court, Class Counsel, and Red Bull’s counsel in accordance with the instructions provided above in the section entitled “How do I tell the court that I do not like the settlement?”. As noted therein, include the phrase “Notice of Intention to Appear” in the title of the letter.
You could not speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the Settlement Class.
The Court assigned the following attorneys to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members:
Benedict P. Morelli
David S. Ratner
Morelli Alters Ratner, P.C.
777 Third Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 751-9800
Facsimile: (212) 751-0046
Jeremy W. Alters
Matthew T. Moore
Morelli Alters Ratner, P.A.
2675 Northeast 188th Street
Miami, Florida 33180
Telephone: (305) 571-8550
Facsimile: (305) 571-8558
Laurence D. King
Linda M. Fong
Kaplan, Fox, & Kilsheimer LLP
350 Sansome Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Telephone: (415) 772-4700
Facsimile: (415) 772-4707
Frederic S. Fox
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
850 Third Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Telephone: (212) 687-1980
Justin B. Farar
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
11111 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 620
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Telephone: (310) 575-8670
Facsimile: (310) 575-8697
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.
You are also represented by the Plaintiffs Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almaraz, whom the Court assigned to serve as Class Representatives for you and the other Settlement Class Members.
Class Counsel applied to the Court for their fees and expenses not to exceed a total of $4,750,000.00, subject to the terms of the Stipulation. Class Counsel also requested that the Court approve Red Bull’s payment of “incentive awards” of $5,000 to each of the three Class Representatives. Red Bull will not oppose these requests.
All fees and expenses awarded to Class Counsel and incentive awards awarded to Class Representatives will be paid by Red Bull in addition to – that is, separate and apart from – the cash and Red Bull product distributions to Class Members, subject to the terms set forth in the Stipulation, and will therefore have no effect on the relief available to Claimants eligible for settlement benefits.
The notice is just a summary of the settlement and may not answer all of your questions. More details are in the Stipulation and the documents that are “Exhibits” to the Stipulation, and may help in determining whether you are a Settlement Class Member.
For more information, contact the Class Action Settlement Administrator directly by calling 877-495-1568.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE CLERK’S OFFICE, OR RED BULL’S COUNSEL FOR INFORMATION. ALL INQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR AT THE NUMBER ABOVE.