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Pilgrim’s Pride Execs Seek Delay In Price-Fixing Trial

 |  February 10, 2021

Citing more than 13 million documents to sort through, a group of former chicken-packing executives, including several from Pilgrim’s Pride, are asking for a delay in the trial to allow more time to build their defense against federal antitrust charges.

In a filing in the US District Court of Colorado, the group of 10 defendants say that the amount of documents provided to them during the evidence-gathering section of the case is enormous, and prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice are continuing to supply them with more evidence.

The group of defendants include former employees of multiple large chicken suppliers, including former Pilgrim’s CEOs Jayson Penn and William Lovette, vice president Roger Austin, and sales executive Jimmie Little.

All of the executives are being charged individually as part of a larger investigation into allegations of price fixing among the largest chicken suppliers in the US Greeley-based Pilgrim’s agreed last October to pay $110.52 million to settle DOJ charges from the investigation.

The company also agreed to pay $75 million to settle a class-action suit that arose from the investigation, which included distributors and grocers such as Walmart, Kroger and Chik-fil-A . However, several other food-related companies are continuing to sue Pilgrim’s and other chicken-industry giants outside of the scope of that class-action suit.

The defendants claim that the massive amount of evidence they need to examine leaves them unable to build a full defense before the April 12 deadline for pre-trial motions. The trial, which includes all 10 defendants, is set to begin on Aug. 2.

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