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Chicken Suppliers Agree to Settle Price-Fixing Claims in Multi-Million Dollar Deal

 |  March 3, 2024

In a significant development, major chicken suppliers including Perdue and Sanderson have reached a settlement in a long-standing legal battle over allegations of price-fixing. The agreement, which also involves other poultry producers, follows claims of conspiring to inflate prices, resulting in substantial overcharges for food distributors over the years.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys, representing a class action of direct purchasers of chicken, revealed in a court filing on Thursday their intention to seek preliminary approval from a federal judge in Chicago for the newly proposed settlements.

While the specific terms of the agreements were not immediately disclosed, the companies involved have consistently denied any wrongdoing, reporting Reuters.

Sanderson, which merged last year to form Oakwood, Georgia-based Wayne-Sanderson, along with Perdue, were among the defendants named in the settlement filing. Notably, they had previously secured victories in legal proceedings against the plaintiffs’ claims. However, the plaintiffs had contested these outcomes, leading to the current round of settlements.

Read more: Koch Reaches Settlement with DOJ Over Chicken Supplier Practices

The litigation has been ongoing, with consumers, direct purchasers of chicken, and commercial plaintiffs such as restaurants and grocery stores accusing the defendants of collusion to maintain artificially high prices. Allegations included tactics like production curbing and sharing nonpublic data about supply and demand to manipulate prices in their favor.

The settlement marks another chapter in this complex legal saga, with prior agreements already totaling more than $284 million with other chicken producers. Direct-purchaser plaintiffs in this case include well-known entities such as Maplevale Farms in New York, Pennsylvania-based John Gross & Company, and New Jersey’s Ferraro Foods.

Earlier settlements with other industry giants have been notable, with Tyson agreeing in 2021 to pay $80 million to direct purchaser plaintiffs, while Pilgrim’s Pride settled for $75 million in the same year.

Source: Reuters