A FEW BREAD CRUMBS TO KEEP YOU QUIET?

Read­ing the fine print on Loblaws gift cards

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - Front Page -

Con­sumers who re­ceive a $25 Loblaw Com­pa­nies Ltd. gift card in­tended as a good­will ges­ture in light of the com­pany’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a bread price-fix­ing scheme may end up with less money from any fu­ture court judge­ment or set­tle­ment.

Loblaw opened reg­is­tra­tion for the gift cards Mon­day and re­vealed a num­ber of re­stric­tions for re­demp­tion and even­tual use.

Re­cip­i­ents are not pro­hib­ited from par­tic­i­pat­ing in any clas­s­ac­tion law­suits, ac­cord­ing to the reg­is­tra­tion site, but they will re­ceive $25 less of any pos­si­ble dam­ages awarded in the fu­ture from any class-ac­tion judg­ments or set­tle­ments.

Reg­is­trants must agree to a re­lease that says they dis­charge Loblaw (TSX:L), its par­ent com­pany Ge­orge We­ston Ltd. (TSX:WN) and oth­ers from any kind of relief in con­nec­tion with their in­volve­ment in an al­leged bread price-fix­ing ar­range­ment from Jan. 1, 2002 to March 1,

2015 to the ex­tent of $25.

The re­lease reads that in­di­vid­u­als may want to ob­tain in­de­pen­dent le­gal ad­vice be­fore ac­cept­ing and agree­ing to this.

“They’re try­ing to limit the ultimate amount that they’re go­ing to have to pay by turn­ing it into this coupon pro­gram and also try and turn it around into a op­por­tu­nity to bring peo­ple into their stores,” said Louis Sokolov, a part­ner at So­tos LLP.

The firm has launched one of sev­eral class-ac­tion law­suits against Loblaw and other com­pa­nies in con­nec­tion with the bread price-fix­ing. When the class ac­tion is com­pleted, the court will de­ter­mine how much money Loblaw must pay peo­ple, said Sokolov. It will look at Loblaw’s gift-card pro­gram and de­ter­mine whether to give them any credit for it, he said.

Weather U.S. hits record cost for nat­u­ral dis­as­ters top left: Fire­fighter Ryan Spencer bat­tles a wild­fire in La Con­chita, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2017. top right: A home along the north­east Florida beaches col­lapses dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma in Septem­ber. Res­cue boats float on a flooded street as peo­ple are evac­u­ated from ris­ing flood­wa­ters brought on by Trop­i­cal Storm Har­vey on Aug. 28, 2017, in Hous­ton. The U.S. had 16 dis­as­ters last year with dam­age ex­ceed­ing a bil­lion dol­lars, the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion said Mon­day. That ties 2011 for the num­ber of bil­lion-dol­lar dis­as­ters, but the to­tal cost blew past the pre­vi­ous record of $215 bil­lion in 2005. Three of the five most ex­pen­sive hur­ri­canes in U.S. his­tory hit last year. Hur­ri­cane Har­vey cost $125 bil­lion, sec­ond only to 2005’s Ka­t­rina, while Maria cost $90 bil­lion, rank­ing third, NOAA said. Irma cost $50 bil­lion.

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