A PYMNTS Company

Kellogg, Kraft Secure Victory in Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against Egg Producers

 |  November 21, 2023

In a landmark decision on Tuesday, a federal jury in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that the two largest egg producers in the nation, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. and Rose Acre Farms Inc., along with two egg trade groups, are liable for fixing egg prices. The verdict marks a significant win for food producers and opens the door to potential damages and attorneys’ fees for the defendants.

Jenner & Block partner Brandon Fox, representing the plaintiffs, expressed satisfaction with the jury’s decision, stating, “For the first time, the defendants have been held liable for their antitrust violations. We are now going to turn our attention to the damages phase,” indicating that the legal battle is far from over.

The lawsuit, initiated in 2011 by a Kraft Heinz Co. unit, Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc., and Nestle SA, accused the egg producers and trade groups, United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers, of engaging in a conspiracy to manipulate egg prices from the late 1990s through at least 2008.

Related: Pilgrim’s Pride Settles Chicken Price-Fixing Suit, Again

The damages phase of the trial is set to commence next week, potentially exposing the defendants to financial repercussions. Previous attempts by egg buyer plaintiffs, including grocery stores and other direct purchasers, in two separate cases, failed to convince juries of price-fixing allegations.

The trial’s unique touch came from US Judge Steven Seeger, who presided over the case. He demonstrated his appreciation for the legal teams by baking brownies for all five parties involved and distributing trays of the egg-containing treats to them. Commending the lawyers for their excellent advocacy during the five-week trial, Seeger likened the proceedings to an “All-Star game” of Major League Baseball.

Source: News Bloomberg Law