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Chick-News.com Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Additional Lawsuits Alleging Price Collusion by Broiler Integrators

04/09/2019

Packaged food companies have filed lawsuits alleging collusion among broiler producers to inflate prices from 2008 through 2016. The new wave of litigation includes Conagra Brands, Pinnacle Foods Inc., Kraft Heinz Foods Company, Nestle USA Inc. and Nestle Purina Pet Care.

Defendants include Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Foods, Sanderson Farms, House of Raeford Farms Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry, Perdue Farms, Wayne Farms, Fieldale Farms, George’s Inc., Simmons Foods, O-K Foods, Harrison Poultry, Foster Farms, Claxton Poultry, Mount Airy Farms and Agristats® an industry benchmark service alleged to be the common link among all defendants.

As with previous lawsuits filed, the current plaintiffs allege that major producers conspired based on market intelligence acquired from Agristats® to dispose of breeder hens to reduce broiler supply and hence manipulate prices. Previous lawsuits have been consolidated into a single case to be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

In November 2017, Judge Thomas Durkin denied a defendents’ motion to dismiss the case. In his ruling Judge Durkin stated “There is simply too much unusual market movement, unusual public statements, unusual information sharing through Agristats® and a coincidence of business strategies that make dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims at this point in the case inappropriate.”

It is noted that Fieldale Farms agreed to cooperate with the plaintiffs in their prosecution of the remaining thirteen defendants and accordingly the company was released from claims. A motion to this effect was granted in mid-February.


 
Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane