Pet owners whose animals fell ill or died after eating food subject to last year's massive recalls could be eligible for economic damages from a $24 million settlement.
The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the court handling all the class-action lawsuits arising from the melamine contamination of pet food, has granted preliminary approval of the settlement terms. On Oct. 14, the court will hold a hearing on final approval.
According to the settlement terms, Menu Foods and other companies that participated in the recalls would create a cash fund to pay pet owners up to 100 percent of economic damages for reasonable claims with documentation—and up to $900 for valid claims without documentation.
Pet owners whose animals ate food subject to the recalls would be able to recover economic damages for claims relevant to animal illnesses or deaths, veterinary screenings of healthy animals, food purchases, and some other expenses. Documentation could include records of payment, veterinary records, and veterinarian statements.
The settlement fund would be in addition to at least $8 million in payments by some companies to pet owners.
Individuals can contact the claims administrator by writing to: In re Pet Food Products Liability Litigation, Claims Administrator, c/o Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP, P.O. Box 890, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890; calling (800) 392-7785; or visiting www.petfoodsettlement.com.