Wednesday, February 01, 2012
A judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by two fishermen against Clackamas-based Pacific Seafood Group.
Brookings fishermen Lloyd Whaley and Todd Whaley claim that Pacific Seafood Group illegally exploits its market power as a wholesaler to pay fishermen below-market prices for whiting, groundfish and shrimp from Northern California to the Canadian border. They also allege that Pacific Seafood illegally conspired with another processor, Washington-based Ocean Gold Seafoods, to suppress prices for whiting.
Both companies have denied the allegations. Pacific said it has benefited fishermen by opening up new markets, putting more fishermen to work and allowing them to earn more than they would without the company’s buying power and influence.
Portland attorneys Mike Haglund and Mike Kelley, who represent the father-and-son Whaleys, asked to have the case certified as a class-action suit. That means that up to 1,500 fishermen by the lawyers’ count potentially could tap into the $67 million to $83 million in damages that Haglund and Kelley are seeking, should they win the suit.
Read more at The Register-Guard.