Ridley Inc. announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in the bovine spongiform encephalopathy class action lawsuits filed against Ridley and the government of Canada in four provinces of Canada.
Under the settlement agreement, Ridley will pay $6 million (Canadian) into a plaintiffs' settlement trust fund and will effectively cap its exposure to the claims made by the plaintiffs to the $6 million. However, Ridley will remain a participant in the ongoing litigation as plaintiffs continue their claim against the Government of Canada.
The claims were filed in April 2005 against Ridley and the Canadian government for losses allegedly incurred by Canadian cattle farmers as a result of international bans on trade in Canadian beef following the May 2003 diagnosis of BSE in an Alberta cow.
"In entering into this agreement, Ridley makes no admission of liability or wrongdoing in the matter and we will continue to contest any allegation we were responsible for the plaintiffs' damages," says Steve VanRoekel, president and chief executive officer of Ridley Inc. "Resolving these lawsuits now minimizes the costs associated with defending an already lengthy litigation, eliminates the uncertainty, and allows us to move our business forward."