A court authorized this Notice because you have a right to know about the proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the settlement. This Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, and who can get them.
Judge Timothy S. Black of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati is overseeing this class action. The case is known as Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company, Case No. 1:11-cv-00226. The proposed settlement resolves the legal claims in this lawsuit and Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company, Case No. 27-2011-00099818-CU-BT-CTL (San Diego Cty. Sup. Ct.). The people who filed this lawsuit are called the "Plaintiffs" and the company they sued, P&G, is called the "Defendant."Top
This lawsuit claims that Defendant falsely advertised the digestive health benefits of its Align® probiotic supplements. P&G denies all of the allegations made in the lawsuit, and denies any wrongdoing. P&G continues to stand behind its Align® product as an effective probiotic.Top
In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Dino Rikos, Tracey Burns, and Leo Jarzembrowski) sue on behalf of all other people with similar claims. Together, the people included in the class action are called a Class or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.Top
The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or the Defendant. Instead, both parties agreed to a settlement. This way, they avoid the cost and burden of a trial and the people affected can get benefits. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the settlement is best for all Class Members.Top
The settlement includes all persons who purchased Align® within the United States and its territories, other than solely for purposes of resale, from March 1, 2009 to June 6, 2016 (“Settlement Class”).Top
Yes. The settlement does not include: (1) Defendant and its officers, directors, and employees; (2) any person who files a valid and timely Request for Exclusion; and (3) judicial officers and their immediate family members and associated court staff assigned to the case.Top
If you are not sure whether you are included, call 1-866-653-4873, go to www.AlignSettlement.com or write to one of the lawyers listed in Question 14 below.Top
P&G has agreed to provide cash refunds for eligible purchases of Align®. Total refund amounts will vary depending on the number of Align® packages purchased, and the time period in which the purchase occurred. Question 9 below provides more information on how these cash refunds will be calculated.
In addition to these cash refunds, P&G will make Digestive Health Improvement Contributions (“DHIC”). The DHIC will be targeted to benefit directly the Settlement Class; namely, U.S. consumers who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”) or who regularly seek assistance and care for their digestive health. P&G will provide the Guaranteed DHIC in the form of: (1) intellectual property and/or know-how; (2) research or education grants; or (3) product donations to research or educational institutions or programs working to improve digestive health.
P&G will make guaranteed, up-front DHIC worth $5 million. Intellectual property will be valued by a qualified independent appraiser. If the amount of eligible refund claims is below $10 million, then P&G will contribute additional DHIC so that the total aggregate contributions to the Settlement Class (including Cash Refunds and all DHIC) shall reach $15,000,000. For example, if eligible Cash Refund Claims total $9,000,000, then P&G will contribute $1,000,000 worth of additional DHIC. If the aggregate amount of eligible refund claims exceeds $15 million, each eligible Settlement Class Member’s award shall be reduced on a pro rata basis to reach a total of $15 million and P&G will contribute, approximately dollar-for-dollar above $15,000,000, additional DHIC up to a maximum of $25,000,000 total value (including cash refunds and all DHIC) to the Settlement Class.
P&G has also agreed to refrain from making the "clinically proven" five symptom relief claims, which appeared on the Align® packaging from approximately March 1, 2009 through October 31, 2009, absent new supporting clinical data and/or analysis, or a change in product formula.Top
Cash refund amounts will vary based on the total number of packages of Align® you purchased and when you purchased them. The maximum refund amount you can receive is $49.26. All Claim Forms must be verified under penalty of perjury.
You may file a Claim Form for:
• Up to two packages of Align® purchased from March 1, 2009 through October 31, 2009. Each package has a refund value of $15.88 (50% of the average retail price of Align® during this time period).
• One package of Align® purchased from November 1, 2009 through June 6, 2016. Each package has a refund value of $17.50 (50% of the average retail price of Align® during this time period).
Final cash refund amounts will depend on the total amount of cash refunds claimed.Top
You must complete and submit a Claim Form by May 16, 2018. You may submit a claim here or print from this website or Class Counsel’s website (www.bholaw.com) and mail to the Settlement Administrator at the address on the Claim Form. Claim Forms are also available by sending an email to info@AlignSettlement.com, calling 1-866-653-4873 or by writing to the Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company Settlement Administrator at P.O. Box 404041 Louisville, KY 40233-4041.
To be eligible for a cash refund, Claim Forms must be completed, signed, and postmarked or submitted to the Settlement Administrator by May 16, 2018.Top
The Court will hold a hearing on April 16, 2018 to decide whether to grant final approval to the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether appeals will be filed and, if so, how long it will take to resolve them. Cash refunds will be distributed as soon as possible, only if and when the Court grants final approval to the settlement and after any appeals are resolved. Please be patient.Top
Unless you exclude yourself, you are a part of the Settlement Class. If the settlement is approved and becomes final, all of the Court's orders will apply to you and legally bind you. You will not be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the P&G and the Released Parties (see next question) about the legal issues resolved by this settlement. The rights you are giving up are called Released Claims.Top
If and when the settlement becomes final, Settlement Class Members will permanently release P&G and its parents, subsidiaries, divisions, departments, and affiliates, and any and all of its past and present officers, directors, employees, stockholders, agents, successors, attorneys, insurers, representatives, licensees, licensors, subrogees, and assigns (the "Released Parties") from all claims (with the exception of claims for personal injury), demands, actions, suits, and/or causes of action that have been brought or could have been brought, are currently pending or were pending, or are ever brought in the future, by any Settlement Class Member against P&G or any Released Party, in any forum in the United States and its territories, whether known or unknown, asserted or unasserted, under or pursuant to any statute, regulation, common law or equity, that relate in any way, directly or indirectly, to facts, acts, events, transactions, occurrences, courses of conduct, representations, omissions, circumstances or other matters related to or referenced in any claim raised (including, but not limited to, any claim that was raised against any Released Party) in this lawsuit, including damages, costs, expenses, penalties, and attorneys’ fees (the "Released Claims").
More detail about the claims you will be releasing are described in Section VIII of the Settlement Agreement, which is available at www.AlignSettlement.com, or in the public court records on file in this lawsuit. You can also talk to the lawyers listed in Question 14 below for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.Top
Yes. Judge Black appointed Timothy Blood and Thomas J. O’Reardon II of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP to represent you and other Settlement Class Members as "Class Counsel." This law firm and these lawyers are experienced in handling similar cases. 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. Class Counsel's contact information is below:
Timothy G. Blood
Thomas J. O’Reardon II
Blood Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP
501 West Broadway, Suite 1490
San Diego, CA 92101
Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses of up to $4,500,000. They will also ask the Court to approve $2,500 service awards to each of the three Class Representatives: Dino Rikos, Tracey Burns, and Leo Jarzembrowski. The Court may award less than these amounts. Any amounts awarded by the Court, as well as the costs associated with administering the Settlement, will be paid separately by P&G and will not reduce the amount of cash refunds or other benefits available to Settlement Class Members. The purpose of the service awards, if any, is to compensate the Class Representatives for their efforts and risks taken on behalf of the Settlement Class.Top
To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must submit a written request for exclusion. Your request for exclusion must include: (1) your name; (2) your address; (3) a statement that you are a Settlement Class Member and wish to be excluded from Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company, Case No. 1:11-cv-00226; and (4) your signature. Your request for exclusion must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator at the address below, postmarked no later than March 17, 2018:
Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company Settlement Administrator:
P.O. Box 404041
Louisville, KY 40233-4041
No. If you exclude yourself, you are telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class in this settlement. You can only get a cash refund if you stay in the Settlement Class and submit a completed Claim Form, as described above.Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you are giving up the right to sue P&G and the Released Parties for the claims that this settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to start or continue with your own lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against P&G or any of the Released Parties.Top
If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not request exclusion, you can object to the settlement if you do not like it or a portion of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views before making a decision. To object, you must prepare and sign a written objection stating that you object to the settlement in Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company. Your written objection must include: (1) a header identifying the case as Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company, Case No. 1:11-cv-00226; (2) your name, address, and phone number; (3) the name, address, and telephone number of your attorney, if you are represented by counsel; (4) a signed declaration stating that you are a Settlement Class Member; (5) all of the reasons why you object to the settlement, including any supporting documents and any legal support for the objection known by you or your attorney; (6) a statement indicating whether you or your attorney intend to appear at the Court's Final Approval Hearing; and (7) your handwritten, dated signature (electronic signatures or the signature of your attorney will not be accepted). To be timely, you must mail your objection to all three addresses below, postmarked on or before March 17, 2018.
United States District Court
Southern District of Ohio
Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
100 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Thomas J. O’Reardon II
& O’REARDON, LLP
501 West Broadway, Suite 1490
San Diego, CA 92101
D. Jeffrey Ireland
Erin E. Rhinehart
FARUKI IRELAND COX RHINEHART & DUSING P.L.L.
201 E. Fifth Street, Suite 1420
Cincinnati, OH 45202
If your written objection is: (1) not signed; (2) missing the required information described above; or (3) not mailed to the Court, Class Counsel, and P&G's Counsel, postmarked on or before March 17, 2018, it will not be considered and you will give up your right to object to the settlement.Top
Yes. You or your attorney may speak at the Final Approval Hearing about your objection. To do so, you must include a statement in your objection indicating that you or your attorney intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and follow the requirements included in the response to Question 24 below. Remember, your objection must be postmarked by March 17, 2018 and sent to all three addresses in Question 19.Top
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you remain a Settlement Class Member (that is, do not exclude yourself). Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object because the settlement no longer affects you.Top
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on April 16, 2018 at the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, Room 815, 100 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. It will also consider whether to approve Class Counsel's request for an award of attorneys' fees and expenses, as well as the Class Representative's service awards. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Black will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing (see Questions 20 and 24). After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
The Court may change deadlines listed in this Notice without further notice to the Settlement Class. To keep up on any changes in the deadlines please contact Class Counsel or visit www.AlignSettlement.com.Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions Judge Black may have about the settlement. However, you are welcome to come to the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to appear in court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, signed it and provided all of the required information (see Question 19), the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.Top
Yes. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. If you properly submitted an objection (see Question 19 above), then you must also file a "Notice of Intention to Appear at the Final Approval Hearing in Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company" with the Court, and send a copy to Class Counsel and P&G’s Counsel. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must include your name, address, phone number, and signature. If you plan to have your own attorney speak for you at the Final Approval Hearing, then you must also include the name, address, and telephone number of the attorney who will appear on your behalf. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed and postmarked on or before March 27, 2018.Top
If you are Settlement Class Member and you do nothing, you will give up the rights explained in Question 12, including your right to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against P&G and the Released Parties about the legal issues resolved by this settlement. In addition, you will not be eligible to receive a cash refund.Top
This Notice summarizes the proposed settlement. Complete details are provided in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement, Claim Form and other related documents are available at www.AlignSettlement.com. Additional information is also available by calling 1-866-653-4873 or by writing to Rikos v. The Procter & Gamble Company Settlement Administrator, KCC, LLC P.O. Box 404041 Louisville, KY 40233-4041. Publicly-filed documents can also be obtained by visiting the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse during business hours or accessing the Court's online docket via PACER. You can also contact Class Counsel or visit Class Counsel’s website, www.bholaw.com for more information.Top