March 2, 2021
- Part of a larger $104 million deal, first reached by consumers.
- Comes days after tentative approval of wholesaler settlement.
The consumers leading a proposed chicken price-fixing class action over an alleged industrywide scheme revealed a $99 million settlement with Tyson Foods Inc., part of a larger $104 million “icebreaker” deal they disclosed in a Chicago federal court.
The agreement, which includes a cooperation pledge, is the first between the consumer plaintiffs and the poultry processors they targeted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where the consolidated case also includes antitrust claims on behalf of retailers and wholesalers.
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The lawsuit accuses the top U.S. chicken processors of inflating prices through long-term supply reductions, achieved by culling flocks of “breeder” hens, and through an index run by Eli Lilly & Co. subsidiary Agri Stats Inc. The dispute recently added bid rigging claims by restaurant chains including Boston Market, Johnny Rockets, and Subway.
The poultry processors have also faced antitrust claims over alleged schemes to fix the wages of their mostly immigrant workforce and drive down compensation for the permanently indebted “modern-day sharecroppers” who raise chickens for them.
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The consumers are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
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