Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Plaintiffs in lawsuit against oil maker to be paid: association

Staff writer, with CNA in Kaohsiung

More than 4,000 people involved in a class-action lawsuit against edible oil maker Chang Guann Co Ltd (強冠企業) are to receive the compensation they were promised, the Consumer Protection Association of Taiwan said yesterday.

After more than three years of litigation, the association has received NT$24.42 million (US$800,630) from auctions of Chang Guann’s assets that is to be distributed to 4,048 plaintiffs by the end of this month, association deputy secretary-general Hsu Pang-han (徐邦瀚) told a news conference.

The plaintiffs are students and teachers at 22 kindergartens and schools nationwide that used cooking oil from Chang Guann produced with “gutter oil” — oil that is recycled from restaurant waste and animal by-products and can contain carcinogens.

The plaintiffs filed the class-action lawsuit against the edible oil maker with the help of the association after the cooking oil scandal broke out in 2014.

A total of 3,811 plaintiffs reached a settlement with Chang Guann during a first trial, with each given compensation of NT$6,000, Hsu said.

Another 160 plaintiffs were awarded compensation ranging between NT$6,000 and NT$9,000 based on the ruling of the first trial, while the remaining 77 who did not receive compensation following the first trial were eventually offered NT$3,000 each as a result of the lawsuit, he said.

However, the company did not have the money to pay the compensation awarded through the legal process and subsequent settlement. It was only after its assets were auctioned that the funds were raised.

Chang Guann chairman Yeh Wen-hsiang (葉文祥) was sentenced to 22 years in jail, with five years commutable to a fine, by the Taiwan High Court in 2016 for fraud and breaches of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court in September last year.

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