Vita Coco Settlement: $750,000 in Attorney Fees, $1 mil in Refunds

Here’s another interesting look at the way things shake out when you deal with class action lawsuits filed against beverage companies: the terms of the settlement of the lawsuit against Vita Coco have appeared online.

Detailed in the settlement are fees for the lawyers who brought the suit: Labaton Sucharow LLP and Whatley Drake & Kallas LLC will ultimately walk away with $750,000. The rewards for the named members of the aggrieved class of Vita Coco drinkers who claim to have been misled by some of the marketing language on the package are a far cry from that amount, however. (Vita Coco has been forced to change some of that packaging as part of the settlement.) According to a document containing the stipulations of the settlement, class members Stacey Fishbein, Katrina Garcia, Catalina Sadarriaga and Russell Marchewka each received $2000 for allowing themselves to be named as plaintiffs in the suit.

Meanwhile, the rest of the class had better move quick if its members want any part of the settlement award: there’s only $1 million in product set aside for them. Another $3 million in the settlement set for donation to charity at a count of $1 million per year over the next three years.

Vita Coco was also forced to pick up the $350,000 cost of administering the settlement fund and posting notice of the settlement.

Asked about the way the settlement had gone, attorney Justin Prochnow, who is helping several beverage companies involved in similar class actions, said of the plaintiffs, “I’m surprised they even got the $2000.”

Here’s a web site with the full settlement.