Since 1997, a multitude of lawsuits have been filed on the behalf of both direct and indirect purchasers of vitamin products against vitamin manufacturers, according to a release from Zimmerman Reed P.L.L.P and Heidman, Redmond, Fredregil, Patterson, Plaza, Dykstra and Prahl LLP law firms.

The lawsuits allege the vitamin companies have a long running international conspiracy to fix, raise and maintain the illegal prices of certain bulk vitamins and vitamin products.

Swine producers are considered to be indirect purchasers of vitamin products. On Oct. 10, 2000, plaintiffs in various state courts entered into an agreement known as the Master Settlement Agreement with Defendants Aventis Animal Nutrition, BASF Corporation, Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc., Roche Vitamins Inc., Takeda Chemicals Industries, Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. and Eisai Co.

If approved by the courts involved, this settlement will establish a claims process for indirect purchasers of vitamins who should consider filing a claim for damages incurred as a result of the vitamin manufacturers price fixing.

Approval of the Master Settlement Agreement is expected soon. At that time, pork producers will have either 90 days to opt out of the settlement or 120 days to remain in the settlement and file a claim.

If the settlement is approved you have three options: 1) remain in the settlement and file a claim within the settlement, 2) opt out of the settlement and file an individual claim, or 3) opt out of the settlement and do nothing. Neither remaining in the settlement nor opting out of the settlement guarantees you will receive compensation.

Because state laws vary, not all producers can make a claim as an indirect purchaser. The agreement applies only to the following states: Arizona, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The amount you would be able to recover from the suit depends on the size of your operation. For more information on the lawsuit visit, e-mail or call 888-359-6030.