WMJ Clients Granted Approval to Exit Honey Smuggling Suit
Final approval was granted by an Illinois federal judge to a $3 million settlement over an alleged scheme to smuggle Chinese honey into the U.S. on Friday, October 2, 2015. The approval of this settlement allowed the former heads of U.S. honey importer Groeb Farms, including a former director and onetime minority investor who were presented by WMJ, to exit a class action that claims $180 million of harm to the domestic honey market, and seeks treble damages under RICO. The Director and the investor were represented by WMJ partners James P. Fieweger and Peter C. John. Neither defendant served as an executive of the company.
Three consolidated class actions, which followed a U.S. Department of Justice investigation and deferred prosecution agreement with Groeb Farms, accused former Groeb Farms executives of conspiring to transport honey through Southeast Asian countries in an effort to disguise the real origin of the honey and dodge costly anti-dumping duties. Funds for the settlement will be drawn from an insurance policy held by Groeb Farms, which is in bankruptcy.