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You are receiving the Court-authorized Notice because you may be a Class Member in a proposed Settlement regarding allegedly inaccurate Labeling found on certain A&W® brand Root Beer and Cream Soda Products that contained the statement “Made with Aged Vanilla” on their label.
For purposes of Settlement only, the Court has certified a settlement class (the “Settlement Class”). You are a member of the Settlement Class (“Settlement Class Member”) if you live in the United States and, between February 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023, you (a person, not a commercial entity) purchased for personal use (not for purposes of resale) an A&W® brand Root Beer or Cream Soda Product that contained the statement “Made with Aged Vanilla” on its label.
The Notice explains the nature of the lawsuit and the Claims being settled, your legal rights, and the proposed benefits to the Class.
Judge Brian M. Cogan, of the Eastern District of New York is overseeing the Sharpe class action lawsuit. The case is known as Sharpe et al. v. A&W Concentrate Co. et al., Case No. 19-cv-00768-BMC (E.D.N.Y.). The person who brought the lawsuit is called the “Plaintiff,” and the companies sued are called the “Defendants.” For purposes of Settlement, this Settlement includes Steve Dailey, the Class Representative and named plaintiff who brought the putative class-action lawsuit known as Dailey v. A&W Concentrate Co. et al., Case No. 4:20-cv-02732-JST (N.D. Cal.).
Plaintiffs LaShawn Sharpe, Jim Castoro, and Steve Dailey filed the lawsuits against A&W Concentrate Co. and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., individually and on behalf of certain others who purchased units of Defendants’ manufactured Root Beer and Cream Soda Products that contained the statement “Made with Aged Vanilla” on their label within the United States for personal use between February 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023.
The Plaintiffs allege in the lawsuits that the Label on certain Root Beer and Cream Soda Products manufactured by Defendants stating that the Products were “Made With Aged Vanilla” was misleading to a reasonable consumer because the Products contained ethyl vanillin, which is an artificial vanilla flavoring.
Defendants deny the Plaintiffs’ allegations and deny that they violated any law or caused any harm as alleged in the lawsuits. Defendants assert that their Labeling and marketing is truthful and entirely accurate, but Defendants have settled this case to avoid further litigation and distraction of resources from their business.
The Court has not decided who is right.
To obtain more information about this case and Settlement, please see FAQ 21.
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, LaShawn Sharpe, Jim Castoro, and Steve Dailey) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people who may have similar claims form a “Class” and are called “Class Members.” The Settlement resolves the issues for all Class Members, except those who exclude themselves from the Class (Opt-Out), as explained in FAQ 10.
Unless you exclude yourself (Opt-Out), you will be included in the Settlement if it is approved by the Court. By staying in the Class, you will be eligible to receive monetary benefits provided by the Settlement, to which you may be entitled, and you will release the Defendants from all of the Released Claims in this lawsuit, whether or not you file a valid Claim Form.
This means that you will no longer be able to sue A&W Concentrate Co. or Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. regarding any of the Released Claims if you are a Class Member and do not timely and properly Exclude yourself (Opt-Out) from the Class. “Released Claims” are defined in section 2.42 of the Settlement Agreement.
Upon the Effective Date and by operation of the judgment, the Releasing Parties shall have fully, finally, and forever released, relinquished, and discharged against the Released Parties all Released Claims (including, without limitation, any unknown claims), as well as any claims arising out of, relating to, or in connection with, the defense, settlement, or resolution of this Action or the Released Claims.
Plaintiffs expressly acknowledge that they are familiar with principles of law such as Section 1542 of the California Civil Code, which provides:
A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS THAT THE CREDITOR OR RELEASING PARTY DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE AND THAT, IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER, WOULD HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR OR RELEASED PARTY.
With respect to the Settlement Class Members’ Released Claims, each Settlement Class Member shall be deemed to have expressly, knowingly, and voluntarily waived and relinquished, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the provisions, rights, and benefits he or she may otherwise have had under Section 1542 of the California Civil Code and all similar federal or state laws, rights, rules, or legal principles of any other jurisdiction that may be applicable herein. In connection with the release, the Settlement Class Members acknowledge that they are aware that they may hereafter discover claims presently unknown and unsuspected or facts in addition to or different from those which they now know or believe to be true with respect to matters released herein. Nevertheless, the Settlement Class Members acknowledge that a portion of the consideration received herein is for a release with respect to unknown damages and complaints, whether resulting from known injuries and consequences or from unknown injuries or unknown consequences of known or unknown injuries, and state that it is the intention of the Settlement Class Members in agreeing to this release to fully, finally, and forever settle and release all matters and all claims that exist, hereafter may exist, or might have existed (whether or not previously or currently asserted in any action), constituting Settlement Class Members’ Released Claims.
The full text of the Settlement Agreement, which includes all the provisions about settled Claims and Releases, is available in Documents section of this website.
Possibly. The Class Representatives (LaShawn Sharpe, Jim Castoro, and Steve Dailey) will request a Service Award of up to a maximum total amount of $15,000 in the aggregate, which shall be apportioned equally among the Class Representatives (up to an amount of $5,000 per Class Representative), to compensate them for their services as Class Representatives, including, but not limited to, sitting for their depositions, and their efforts in bringing the lawsuit. The Court will make the final decision as to the amount, if any, to be paid to each of the Class Representatives.
If you do not want to be part of the Settlement, you must complete the online form or mail a written request for exclusion (to Opt-Out) to the Claim Administrator. If you exclude yourself, you cannot file a claim or object to the Settlement, and you will not be entitled to any monetary payments from the Settlement. The request to exclude yourself from the Settlement must be made on an individual basis, and postmarked (in the case of a paper mail submission) or received (in the case of personal delivery) by the Claim Administrator at the below address on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 28, 2023:
The Opt-Out request must contain the requestor’s name, address, the words “I wish to be excluded from the Sharpe v. A&W Concentrate Co. Class Action,” and signature.
Instructions on how to submit an exclusion request are available on this website, or by emailing or calling the Claim Administrator.
No, not if you are a Class Member. If you do not exclude yourself (Opt-Out) from the Settlement and the Settlement is finally approved by the Court, you forever give up the right to sue A&W Concentrate Co., Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., and the Released Parties for all the Released Claims, which this Settlement fully and finally resolves.
If you submit a valid and timely request to be excluded (Opt-Out), you cannot Object to the proposed Settlement. However, if you ask to be excluded, you may sue or continue to sue A&W Concentrate Co., Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., or the Released Parties about the same claims resolved by this Settlement in the future. You will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
If you are a Class Member, do nothing and the Settlement is finally approved by the Court, you forever give up the right to sue A&W Concentrate Co., Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., and the Released Parties for the Released Claims, which this Settlement fully and finally resolves.
Yes. The Court has ordered that Michael R. Reese and Sue J. Nam of Reese LLP and Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates, P.C. (together, “Class Counsel”) will represent the interests of all Class Members. Class Members will not be separately charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
On August 18, 2023, Class Counsel filed a motion with the Court requesting payment of $2,918,233.50 for their fees and $306,766.50 for reimbursement of their costs (for a total of $3,225,000). Pursuant to agreement between the Parties, Defendants have agreed not to oppose payment of fees and expenses to Class Counsel of a total amount of $3,225,000. The Court will make the final decision as to the amounts to be paid to Class Counsel and may award less than the amounts requested in the Application.
If you want to tell the Court that you do not agree with the proposed Settlement, or the requested payments to the Class Representatives or the Class Counsel, you may submit an Objection explaining why you do not think the Settlement or requested payments should be approved. If the Court denies approval to the entire Settlement, no Settlement payments will be made, and the lawsuit will continue. Even if the Court disapproves the requested payments to Class Representatives or Class Counsel, the maximum payment amount available to Class Settlement Members will still remain the same.
You must deliver your Objection to the Claim Administrator, Class Counsel, and Defendants’ counsel, and file with the Court, a written statement of your Objection(s). Your Objection must include all of the following information:
a) The case name and number, Sharpe et al. v. A&W Concentrate Co. et al., Case No. 19-cv-00768-
b) The name, address, telephone number, and, if available, the email address of the Person objecting;
c) The name and address of the lawyer(s), if any, who is representing the Person making the Objection
or who may be entitled to compensation in connection with the Objection;
d) A detailed statement of Objection(s), including the grounds for those Objection(s);
e) Copies of any papers, briefs, or other documents upon which the Objection is based;
f) A statement of whether the Person objecting intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either
with or without counsel;
g) The identity of all counsel (if any) who will appear on behalf of the Person objecting at the
Final Approval Hearing and all Persons (if any) who will be called to testify in support of the Objection;
h) A statement of his/her membership in the Settlement Class, including all information required by the Claim Form;
i) The signature of the Person objecting, in addition to the signature of any attorney representing the Person objecting in connection with the Objection; and
j) A detailed list of any other objection by the Settlement Class Member, or his/her counsel, to any class actions submitted in any court, whether state or otherwise, in the United States in the previous five (5) years. If the Settlement Class Member or their counsel has not objected to any other class action settlement in any court in the United States in the previous five (5) years, they shall affirmatively state so in the written materials provided in connection with the Objection to this Settlement.
You must send a copy of your Objection by personal delivery or First-Class mail, and it must be received by (in the case of personal delivery) or postmarked by (in the case of paper mail) no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time August 28, 2023, to the Settlement Administrator, Class Counsel and Defense Counsel:
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can Object only if you stay in the Class.
Excluding yourself (Opting Out) is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to Object because the Settlement no longer affects you.
A Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement and will hold a Final Approval Hearing to determine whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The purpose of the Final Approval Hearing is for the Court to determine whether the Settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class, and to consider the award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs to Class Counsel and to consider the request for Service Awards to the Class Representatives. If there are any valid, timely Objections, the Court will consider them and listen to the people who have asked to speak at the hearing, if a request to do so was properly made.
The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing on October 19, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Courtroom 8D South. The hearing may be postponed to a different time, date, or location without additional notice, so it is recommended that you periodically check this website for updated information.
No, you are not required to come to the Final Approval Hearing. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense.
If you submit an Objection, you do not have to come to the hearing to talk about it. As long as you submitted the written Objection according to the instructions in FAQ 15 (including all of the information required), and it was received on time, the Court will consider it. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the Final Approval Hearing, but that is not necessary.
Yes, you may speak at the Final Approval Hearing, but you must ask the Court for permission. To request permission to speak, you must have filed an Objection according to the instructions in FAQ 15, including all of the information required.
You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself (Opt-Out) from the Settlement.
If you do nothing and the Settlement if finally approved by the Court, you will not get any money from the Settlement, you will not be able to sue for the Claims in this lawsuit, and you release Claims against Defendants and the Released Parties.
This is only a summary of the proposed Settlement. If you want additional information about this lawsuit, including a copy of the actual Settlement Agreement, the complaint filed in this lawsuit, the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, Class Counsel’s Application for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, other pertinent information, and to check the status of the Settlement or if the Settlement has been approved by the Court, please visit this website.
You may also contact the Claim Administrator at (833) 747-6032.
PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR LITIGATION TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT OR THE JUDGE.