AG Van Hollen: Announces cy pres distribution of $570,000 in vitamins price fixing case

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Bill Cosh 608/266-1221

MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced approval of the State of Wisconsin’s proposed distribution plan for approximately $570,000 in cy pres as a result of the class action settlement involving a vitamins price fixing conspiracy, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. The settlement is on behalf of consumers and businesses that purchased certain vitamins between 1988 and 2000 and reside in Wisconsin or any other of the 22 settling states. This settlement follows an earlier $255 million settlement reached in 2000 involving the same vitamins but different vitamin manufacturers.

“I am very pleased that we will be able to distribute these funds to worthy organizations in Wisconsin who ensure the well being of all of our citizens,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “These funds will target our most needy populations including disadvantaged children and those who deal with drug abuse.”

Recipients of the cy pres distribution include nearly $300,000 for Badges for Baseball and its “Healthy Choices, Healthy Children” program, which includes lessons on good nutrition and the value of physical exercise. The Wisconsin Alliance for Drug Endangered Children will receive almost $10,000 for its backpack program to provide children removed from drug homes with backpacks filled with essential supplies. The Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals will receive a total of around $210,000, of which 21 counties with a Drug Treatment Court will each receive around $10,000. Milwaukee County and Dane County Drug Treatment Courts will each receive approximately $25,000 to continue to expand drug treatment options and to provide for testing support and community based options for drug offenders. All amounts will be adjusted after court-ordered fees.

The cy pres distribution will be in addition to a direct distribution to injured businesses. Businesses in Wisconsin that indirectly purchased the vitamins subject to the lawsuit between 1988 and 2000 may make a claim to obtain money from the portion of the settlement allocated to businesses.

Assistant Attorney General Gwendolyn Cooley represented the State of Wisconsin in this matter.