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Minnesota Federal Judge Denies Agri Stats’ Bid to Halt Discovery in Antitrust Lawsuit

 |  May 22, 2024

A Minnesota federal judge has ruled that Agri Stats cannot halt the discovery process of an antitrust lawsuit. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused the data analytics firm of facilitating the exchange of sensitive information among major meat producers, which allegedly led to reduced output and inflated prices in the pork, chicken, and turkey markets.

The decision comes despite Agri Stats’ attempts to transfer the case to another venue and dismiss the lawsuit altogether. The company contended that complying with the DOJ’s document requests would be excessively burdensome due to extensive documentation from previous litigation. However, the court rejected these arguments, underscoring the necessity of moving forward with the discovery phase.

The DOJ’s lawsuit alleges that Agri Stats played a central role in enabling meat producers to share confidential data, thereby coordinating market behavior in a manner that could harm consumers by driving up prices and limiting supply. This case is part of a broader effort by the DOJ to address potential anti-competitive practices in the agriculture industry.

In his ruling, the judge emphasized the critical importance of discovery in antitrust cases, particularly those involving complex market dynamics and substantial economic impacts. The court’s decision ensures that the DOJ can access the necessary documents to build its case, potentially uncovering further evidence of collusion in the meat industry.

Source: Swine Web