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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Class Action Suit Filed Against the Boiler Industry Alleging Collusion over Labor Costs


A class-action suit was recently filed inthe Baltimore Federal court by Handley, Farah and Anderson, a Washington, DC-based law firm. Named Defendants include18 leading broiler integrators, AgriStats and consultant Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company.  The Plaintiffs allege that numerous instances of direct collusion occurred involving regular consultation on labor rates among regional processors.  It is also claimed that through the intermediary of Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company, that labor rates were compiled and disseminated at annual meetings in Destin, FL. concurrent with USPOULTRY seminars for the U.S. industry.  The complaint also implicates AgriStats since historical data circulated could have been used by subscribers to ascertain labor rates for complexes within their areas of operation.


Peter Carstensen a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former antitrust lawyer for the DOJ was quoted as stating, “As a pure antitrust matter it looks really strong, like there was a pattern of coordination in shared control over wages.”  Carstensen also commented on the use of AgriStats data.  He commented, “The kind of information that AgriStats is producing for its subscribers, the detailed wage information, raises serious concerns because it gives everyone involved a basis to restrict and limit how they compete”.


The current lawsuit parallels an ongoing class action suit alleging collusion in pricing.  Discovery in this case is currently on hold following intervention by the DOJ that is investigating possible criminal activities. 


Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane