August 9, 2023
A proposed class of workers at a red meat processing plant have reached a $10 million settlement with Seaboard Foods LLC and a cooperation agreement with Triumph Foods LLC in their suit alleging the companies and others conspired to keep wages in the industry low.
In a motion for preliminary approval filed Monday, the proposed class, led by named plaintiffs Ron Brown, Minka Garmon and Jessie Croft, said Seaboard has agreed to pay $10 million into a non-reversionary fund to be distributed to the class, while both Seaboard and Triumph have agreed to provide documents and information to be used as evidence in proceedings against the other defendants.
The trio first sued Seaboard, Triumph, JBS USA, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and others in November, alleging they shared compensation studies and data and collaborated with supposed competitors to ensure uniform, industry-wide pay policies in violation of federal antitrust laws.
Purdue settled the claims in this suit and another, similar suit regarding the poultry industry in December, and the plaintiffs moved for preliminary approval of that $1.125 million deal in March, according to court documents. All the other defendants remain in the litigation.
According to Monday’s motion, the settlement class will encompass all persons employed by Seaboard or its subsidiaries between Jan. 1, 2014, and the preliminary approval date of the settlement.
The workers said the $10 million deal was reached through fair negotiations and is preferable compared to the risks of prolonged litigation, given that there are questions of law and fact that could be difficult to prove to a jury.
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The proposed class is represented by Shana E. Scarlett of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, George F. Farah of Handley Farah & Anderson PLLC, and Brent W. Johnson of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.