The US Supreme Court has denied a petition from Dongwon-owned tuna giant Starkist asking to dismiss some of the class-action lawsuits filed by consumers alleging the company colluded to fix canned tuna prices.

The justices turned away StarKist’s appeal of a lower court’s decision that let three groups of tuna purchasers receive class-action status to jointly sue the canned tuna company even though a large number of buyers may not have been overcharged and injured by the price fixing, according to Reuters.

The case could have given the justices, had they decided to hear it, a chance to make it harder for consumers and other plaintiffs to receive class action status, the news site said.

The plaintiffs against Starkist in the massive price-fixing complaint include three classes composed of direct purchasers retailers, commercial food preparers and individual consumers.

The members of the class action lawsuit against Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Thai Union Group purchased product between June 1, 2011 and July 31, 2015.

In 2018, Starkist pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate federal antitrust laws under the Sherman Act. A number of executives of Starkist and Bumble Bee pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy in 2017.

In July, San Diego Federal Court Judge Dana Sabraw ruled "there are triable issues" for both the company's branded and private label products, which weren't included as part of its guilty plea, causing further challenges for the company from it price-fixing participation.

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