In re Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the In re Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation

If you do not find an answer to your question below, click here to contact us.


Questions

Answers

1. What is the notice?

Answer:

The Notice provides important information about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit known as In re Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation, Case No 16-cv-00696, and about your options for participating in it before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

The Honorable Brian M. Cogan of the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, is the judge overseeing this case. The persons or entities who sued are called the “Plaintiffs” or “Named Plaintiffs.” The persons, or entities that are being sued are called the “Defendants.”  


Back to top

2. What is the lawsuit about?

Answer:

The Defendants in this case are the three largest distributors of dental supplies and equipment (together “Dental Products”) in the United States. Plaintiffs have alleged that the Defendants collectively account for between 80% - 90% of all sales of Dental Products in the United States. The case involves an alleged nationwide agreement between the Defendants and another distributor, Burkhart, not to compete on price for the sale of Dental Products. Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants coordinated to fix gross margins for Dental Products, boycott rivals with disruptive business models, and to limit the interfirm hiring or “poaching” of each other’s sales representatives. The Defendants and Burkhart deny these claims and assert that they did nothing wrong. The judge in this case has not decided who is right.

Back to top

3. Why is this a class action lawsuit?

Answer:

In a class action like this one, the Named Plaintiffs (or the Class Representatives) sue on behalf of others who have similar claims. All the people who have similar claims are the “Class” or “Class Members.” In a class action, one court resolves the issues in the lawsuit for all Class Members, except for those who choose to be excluded from (or “opt out” of) the Class. In this case, Arnell Prato, D.D.S., P.L.L.C., d/b/a/ Down to Earth Dental (“Down to Earth Dental”), Evolution Dental Sciences, LLC (“Evolution”), Howard M. May, DDS, P.C. (“May”), Casey Nelson, D.D.S. (“Nelson”), Jim Peck, D.D.S. (“Peck”), Bernard W. Kurek, D.M.D. and Larchmont Dental Associates, P.C., (collectively, “Kurek”), and Keith Schwartz, D.M.D., P.A. (“Schwartz”) are the Named Plaintiffs that brought the case, and are also the Court-appointed representatives of the Class for purposes of this Settlement.

Every person or entity that meets the Settlement Class definition is a member of the Settlement Class, except for those who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

Back to top

4. Am I a Member of the Settlement Class?

Answer:

You may be a member of the Settlement Class and eligible to file a claim, object, or exclude yourself from this Settlement if you or your company purchased Dental Supplies and/or equipment from Henry Schein, Patterson, Benco, Burkhart Dental Supply Company Inc. (“Burkhart”) or any combination thereof from August 31, 2008, until March 31, 2016 (the “Class Period”). Excluded from the Class are Defendants and Burkhart, their subsidiaries, affiliate entities, and employees, and all federal or state government entities or agencies.

There are two groups of potential Settlement Class Members covered by the Settlement:  Group 1 consists of Class Members who have at least some Dental Supplies purchases; Group 2 consists of Class Members whose purchases during the Class Period include only Dental Equipment. If you purchased either Dental Supplies or Dental Equipment from any of the Defendants or Burkhart during the Class Period, you are a Settlement Class Member and can file a claim.

Back to top

5. What are the proposed Settlement and Plan of Allocation?

Answer:

The Court has not found in favor of either Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides have agreed to the Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and if the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Members who file claim forms (“Claimants”) will receive the benefits described in the Notice. The Defendants deny all claims in this case and assert that they did nothing wrong. The lawyers appointed by the Court to represent the Class (“Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is fair and in the best interests of the Settlement Class Members.

The Defendants have agreed to pay $80 million to resolve this case (the “Settlement Fund”). Court-approved claims administration fees, Class Representative Incentive Awards, and attorneys’ fees and expenses will be deducted from the Settlement Fund, and thus you have no obligation to pay them directly. The remaining funds (“Net Settlement Fund”) shall be distributed as cash payments to Settlement Class Members who submit valid Claims (i.e., Claimants) according to the following process (“Plan of Allocation”). First, the Net Settlement Fund will be divided into two tranches: Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 consists of Claimants who have made at least some purchases of Dental Supplies during the Class Period (i.e., August 31, 2008, until March 31, 2016); Group 2 consists of Claimants whose purchases during the Class Period include only dental equipment. Because most Class Members purchased some Dental Supplies, the Net Settlement Fund will be allocated as follows: 99.25% to Group 1; 0.75% to Group 2. Payments will be made to Claimants on a pro rata basis in each Group based on Claimants’ verified purchases in dollars of Dental Supplies (in Group 1) and Dental Equipment (in Group 2) during the Class Period. For more information on the Plan of Allocation, please consult the Documents section of this website.

Back to top

6. How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?

Answer:

If you are a Settlement Class Member (and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class), you can object to any part of the Settlement. To object, you must timely submit a letter that includes the following:

1)  A heading that includes the case name and case number—In re Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 16-cv-00696;

2)   Your name, the name and address of the entity that is the Class Member, and if represented by counsel, the name, address, and telephone number of your counsel;

3)    A signed statement stating, under penalty of perjury, that you purchased Dental Products directly from Schein, Patterson, Benco, or Burkhart at some point during the Class Period, i.e., from August 31, 2008 to March 31, 2016, attaching proof of purchase;

4)    A statement detailing all your objections to the Settlement with specificity and including your legal and factual basis for each objection;

5)    A statement of whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing, either with or without counsel, and if with counsel, the name of your counsel who will attend;

If you wish to object, you must file your objection with the Court and mail your objection to each of the following addresses, and your objection must be postmarked by May 13, 2019.


Clerk of the Court

Class Counsel

 

Clerk for the
Honorable Brian M. Cogan

United States District Court for

the Eastern District of New York

Courtroom 8D S

225 Cadman Plaza East

Brooklyn, NY, 11201

 

Eric L. Cramer

Berger Montague PC

1818 Market Street

Suite 3600

Philadelphia, PA 19103

 

Defendant Henry Schein, Inc. Counsel

Defendant Patterson Companies Inc. Counsel

Defendant Benco Dental Supply Co. Counsel

 

Colin R. Kass

Adrian Fontecilla

Stephen R. Chuk

PROSKAUER ROSE LLP

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Suite 600S

Washington, DC 20004

 

James J. Long

BRIGGS AND MORGAN, P.A.

2200 IDS Center

80 South Eighth Street

Minneapolis, MN 55402

 

Howard D. Scher

Samantha L. Southall

BUCHANAN INGERSOLL & ROONEY PC

Two Liberty Place

50th S. 16th Street, Suite 3200

Philadelphia, PA 19102-2555

Back to top

7. How do I request exclusion from the Settlement Class?

Answer:

If you want to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must request exclusion in writing, in the form and by the date set forth below. The Court will exclude from the Settlement Class all Settlement Class Members who submit valid and timely requests for exclusion. If you exclude yourself, you will not be able to receive any benefits from this Settlement; however, this is the only way you will retain your rights to sue the Defendants on your own based on the claims asserted in this lawsuit.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must send a written request for exclusion by mail to the Settlement Administrator: In re Dental Supplies, c/o Settlement Administrator; P.O. Box 510; Philadelphia, PA 19105-0510. 

Your request for exclusion must include (i) your business name and all historical business names you’ve operated under, your current business address and all historical business addresses you’ve operated under, and the signature of a principal of your business with authority to make legal decisions; (ii) a statement that you want to be excluded; and (iii) proof that you purchased Dental Products directly from Schein, Patterson, Benco, or Burkhart at some point during the Class Period, i.e., from August 31, 2008 to March 31, 2016 (e.g., an invoice) and thus are a Settlement Class Member.  

You must mail your exclusion request by First Class U.S. mail, postage paid, postmarked no later than May 13, 2019. You cannot exclude yourself by phone or email; your request must be in writing, signed, and sent by mail. If you exclude yourself, you cannot file a claim and will not receive a payment from the Settlement.

Back to top

8. What is the difference between objecting and excluding?

Answer:

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object because the Settlement no longer affects your rights. Excluding yourself from the Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class and you will not be able to receive any benefits from this Settlement; however, this is the only way you will retain your rights to sue the Defendants on your own based on the claims asserted in this lawsuit.

Back to top

9. What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?

Answer:

By staying in the Settlement Class, you will give up your right to sue Defendants individually for claims related to its alleged violations of the federal antitrust laws, as set forth in the Complaint. That means you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants for the claims asserted in this lawsuit against Defendants. More specifically, staying in the Settlement means you have agreed to be bound by the Settlement and all of its terms including the release of claims (“Release”) contained therein. The complete Release is contained in the Settlement Agreement at Para. 25 which is available in the Documents section of this website.

Back to top

10. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

The Court appointed the following law firms to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members:

Eric L. Cramer

Berger Montague PC

1818 Market Street

Suite 3600 

Philadelphia, PA 19103



Brent W. Landau

Gary L. Smith, Jr.  

Hausfeld LLP

325 Chestnut Street

Suite 900 

Philadelphia, PA 19106



Richard A. Koffman

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

1100 New York Ave., NW

Suite 500

Washington, DC 20005



William C. Carmody

Susman Godfrey LLP

1301 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 100109


These law firms have also been appointed by the Court as Class Counsel. If you have questions concerning the Notice or the lawsuit, you may contact one of the law firms listed above.

Back to top

11. How will the lawyers be paid?

Answer:

Class Counsel will seek payment of attorneys’ fees and costs and expenses from the Settlement Fund. Any payment of fees must be approved by the Court. Class Counsel will submit an application or applications (the “Fee and Expense Application”) to the Court for attorneys’ fees of up to 1/3 of the gross Settlement Amount (plus any interest earned thereon as part of the Settlement Fund), and reimbursement of all reasonably incurred expenses and/or future expenses to be expended in litigation on behalf of the Class not to exceed $5,000,000. The fee and expense application, including the request for any Class Representative Incentive Award, will be filed with the Court and posted on the Settlement Class website on or before March 24, 2019.

Back to top

12. What happens if I do nothing at all?

Answer:

If you do nothing and the Court finally approves the Settlement, you will be part of the Settlement Class, and your interests with respect to the claims in this lawsuit will be represented by the Named Plaintiffs and Class Counsel. You will not be able to sue Defendants individually for any claims related to their alleged violation of the federal antitrust laws and you will be bound by the Release in the Settlement Agreement. If the Settlement is approved, you will need to file a claim form by October 15, 2019 date using instructions available in the Documents section of this website and in a form that will be mailed to you in order to receive monies from the Net Settlement Fund.

Back to top

13. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold a hearing (“Fairness Hearing”) to decide whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate as well as consider Class Counsel’s requests for fees and expenses as well as service awards for the Named Plaintiffs to compensate them for their efforts on behalf of the Class.

The Court has scheduled a Fairness Hearing on June 14, 2019 at 12:00p.m. before Judge Cogan at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza E, Brooklyn, NY, 11201, Courtroom 8D South. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and should be approved. The Court will also consider the requests by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for Service Awards to the Named Plaintiffs. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. It is unknown how long these decisions will take.


Back to top

14. Do I have to attend the hearing?

Answer:

No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. If you submitted your written objection on time to the proper addresses and it complies with all the other requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it is not necessary.

Back to top

15. May I speak at the hearing?

Answer:

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, your timely filed objection or comment must include a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.

Back to top

16. Are there more details available about the lawsuit?

Answer:

The Notice summarizes the lawsuit, the terms of the Settlement, and your rights and options in connection with that Settlement. There are more details regarding the Plaintiffs’ claims and the Defendants’ defenses in the various documents filed with the Court. This Notice, together with the Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, the Plan of Allocation, and other documents relating to the Settlement are or will eventually be posted in the Documents section of this website. Please review the Settlement Agreement for the complete details of the Settlement including the Release.

You may also obtain copies of documents filed in the lawsuit through the Federal Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) system with registration and payment of the required fee, or by contacting Settlement Class Counsel.

Back to top

17. How do I get more information?

Answer:

You may contact the Settlement Administrator and also Class Counsel (identified above). To do so, visit the Contact section of this website, or you may call 1-844-367-8807 for more information about this lawsuit.

Back to top

This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by, the Settlement Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call 844-367-8807

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Register

Click here to safely and securely register for the settlement

Important Dates

  • Fees and Expense Deadline.

    Sunday, March 24, 2019

    Counsel submitted their motion for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards for the class representatives on March 22, 2019.  These documents are available in the ‘Documents’ section of this website.

  • Exclusion Deadline.

    Monday, May 13, 2019

    You must complete and mail your request for exclusion so that it is postmarked no later than May 13, 2019.

  • Objection Deadline.

    Monday, May 13, 2019

    You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than May 13, 2019.

  • Final Approval Hearing Date.

    Friday, June 14, 2019

    The Final Approval Hearing is scheduled for June 14, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. Please check this website for updates.

  • Claim Form Deadline.

    Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    *If Final Approval is granted: You must submit your Claim Form on-line no later than October 15, 2019, or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is postmarked no later than October 15, 2019.

Having Trouble?

Having trouble opening .pdf files? You can download Acrobat Reader  for free from www.adobe.com.

Copyright © 2019 Heffler Claims Group - All Rights Reserved. This site designed and developed by Heffler Claims Group - Privacy Policy