Lion Capital, the UK private-equity firm that formerly owned canned seafood giant Bumble Bee Foods, has been dismissed from a class-action lawsuit alleging the firm was part of a tuna price-fixing scandal that included Bumble Bee Foods, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist.
This week, US District Judge Janis Sammartino ruled there was not enough evidence to prove Lion Capital "plausibly participated" in the tuna conspiracy.
The judge ruled communications between Bumble Bee and Lion Capital during the conspiracy period were part of "routine business practice" and were not indicative of "direct participation" in the conspiracy.
She pointed in particular to how the defendants failed to establish any connection to the conspiracy through Lion Capital Co-Founder and Managing Partner Lyndon Lea's communications with colleagues in the US about Bumble Bee.
In 2018 US supermarket giant Kroger urged the court to expand the defendant list to include Lion Capital to the lawsuit, alleging the firm paid off Bumble Bee's former CEO, Chris Lischewski, to take the heat in criminal case.