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Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation

Summary

The antitrust team at Lockridge Grindal Nauen is plaintiffs’ court-appointed co-lead counsel in a case we filed on behalf of our clients alleging anticompetitive conduct by producers of broiler chickens. Our clients and the class we intend to represent are direct purchasers of chicken from 14 broiler producers.

On August 18, 2017, the Court preliminarily approved a settlement between direct purchaser plaintiffs and defendant Fieldale Farms. In addition to paying $2.25 million, Fieldale Farms will provide substantial cooperation regarding the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaint.

The parties are currently awaiting the Court’s ruling on defendants’ motions to dismiss our complaint, but in the meantime LGN and our co-counsel are setting the parameters for the discovery we intend to commence once the Court upholds our complaint.

If you purchased broiler chickens between 2008 and today, you may have overpaid. For more details, please read on and follow the links below. If you would like to discuss your legal options, please contact Joe Bruckner or Brian Clark at antitrust@locklaw.com or at 612-339-6900.

Case History & Background

Broiler chickens constitute approximately 98% of all chicken meat sold in the United States. On October 14, 2016, the Court appointed Lockridge Grindal Nauen and Pearson Simon Warshaw as lead counsel for the direct purchaser plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs allege that beginning in 2008, broiler chicken producers coordinated their efforts to artificially reduce the supply of broiler chickens for sale in the United States, knowing that those supply reductions would increase prices. Defendants coordinated their supply reductions by sharing confidential production information with one another, closing plants, exporting hatching eggs, and destroying their breeder hens. As a result, during that time broiler chicken prices have increased nearly 50%.

In our Second Amended Complaint filed on November 23, 2016, plaintiffs incorporated revelations made public in early November 2016 that indicated for the first time that a widely used price index—the Georgia Dock—not only may be unreliable, but that broiler producers may have manipulated it in an effort to keep broiler prices artificially high.

On February 6, 2017, defendant Tyson announced that the United States Securities & Exchange Commission was investigating the allegations brought by plaintiffs in our case. In late February 2017, nine broiler companies, including six of the defendants named in our case, received a Civil Investigative Demand from the Florida Attorney General relating to their pricing of broiler chicken.

Were you affected by the alleged broiler chicken conspiracy?

If you purchased broiler chickens between 2008 and today from any of the following companies or their subsidiaries, you may have overpaid: Koch Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, Perdue Farms, Inc., Sanderson Farms, Inc., Wayne Farms, LLC, Mountaire Farms, Inc., Peco Foods, Inc., Foster Farms, House of Raeford Farms, Inc., Simmons, Fieldale Farms Corporation, George’s, Inc., or O.K. Foods, Inc.

Contact

If you would like to discuss your legal options, please contact Joe Bruckner or Brian Clark at antitrust@locklaw.com or at 612-339-6900.

Articles & Documents

08-18-2017
Court Order - Preliminary Approval of Fieldale Farms Settlement

05-12-2017
Article: Florida probes Koch Foods, Wayne Farms over chicken pricing | Reuters

02-15-2017
Article: Is the Chicken Industry Rigged? | Bloomberg Business Week

02-06-2017
Article: SEC Investigation Into Chicken Prices | Forbes

11-23-2016
Second Amended Class Action Complaint

11-17-2016
Article: Internal document shows U.S. chicken prices may have been artificially inflated for years | Washington Post

11-03-2016
Article: You Might Be Paying Too Much for Your Chicken | New York Times

10-14-2016
Court Order - LGN antitrust attorneys appointed lead counsel.

09-26-2016
Article: Is There a Vast Conspiracy to Overcharge You for Chicken? | Bloomberg Law

09-08-2016
Article: Antitrust Lawsuit Calls Chicken Prices Rigged | Courthouse News Service

09-02-2016
Antitrust class action: Poultry producers manipulated market, kept chicken prices too high | Cook County Record

09-02-2016
Class Action Complaint - Maplevale Farms, Inc.