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US: Poultry companies seek to dismiss antitrust lawsuit

 |  January 31, 2017

At least 14 poultry companies named in an antitrust lawsuit filed by Maplevale Farms recently filed a flurry of motions to dismiss the lawsuit. Maplevale Farms, a food distributor, filed the lawsuit which alleges the companies named in the complaint conspired as early as January 2008 to “fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize” prices for broiler chickens.

The motions included various arguments aimed at supporting the defendants’ assertions that Maplevale Farms failed to prove the companies actually entered into a conspiracy.

For example, Koch Foods, which has headquarters in Park Ridge, Illinois, argued in a separate memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss that Maplevale couldn’t prove that Koch entered into a conspiracy. In fact, the company argued, Koch actually increased production during the period the defendants allege the conspiracy occurred, due to the acquisition of Cagle’s and a processing plant formerly owned by Tyson Foods. Koch said the acquisitions more than doubled Koch’s market share and boosted its production capacity.

“Given that during the relevant time Koch increased its production capacity twice — and more than doubled its market share — Plaintiffs’ conclusion that Koch colluded with the other Defendants to decrease the Broiler supply is implausible and cannot be accepted as true,” Koch said in court documents.

Full Content: Meat+Poultry

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