In the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against meat industry data provider Agri Stats, the U.S. Justice Department has rebuffed allegations of disclosing competitively sensitive information. This development comes as Agri Stats requested the court to seal the lawsuit and require the government to refile its case without revealing purportedly confidential business details.
Agri Stats, facing multiple private antitrust lawsuits in U.S. federal courts, found itself on the receiving end of the government’s legal action. Notably, in 2019, the company suspended its turkey and pork industry reports in response to these legal challenges, according to the Justice Department’s complaint, reported Reuters.
Agri Stats’ legal team has now raised concerns regarding several aspects of the government’s extensive 68-page complaint. The company sought to seal various documents, such as excerpts from its industry reports, specific details from pending litigation, and discussions related to Agri Stats’ ownership structure.
However, the Justice Department responded on Friday, asserting that Agri Stats had failed to provide a convincing explanation for how public disclosure of the information in the complaint could harm its business interests. The government’s stance suggests that the lawsuit has adhered strictly to regulations concerning the disclosure of information in antitrust litigation.
Agri Stats, on the other hand, contended that the government lacked the authority to determine the sensitivity of the materials in question. They argued that the disclosure of their information had a chilling effect on companies’ willingness to cooperate with investigators, further fueling the legal dispute between the two parties.