The Court has scheduled a telephonic Final Approval Hearing to take place on August 27, 2020 at 9:30 AM. The Minute Entry rescheduling the Final Approval Hearing is available here.
What is this lawsuit about?
Three settlements (“Settlements”) have been reached in a class action antitrust lawsuit filed on behalf of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs (“Plaintiffs”) of Broiler chicken with the following defendants: Peco Foods, Inc. (“Peco”), George’s, Inc. and George’s Farms, Inc. (“George’s”), and Amick Farms, LLC (“Amick”) (collectively “Settling Defendants”).
Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs allege that Defendants and their co-conspirators conspired to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of Broilers, beginning at least as early as January 1, 2008, and that their principal method for doing this was to coordinate their output and limit production, with the intent and expected result of increasing prices of Broilers in the United States, in violation of federal antitrust laws. The Settling Defendants vigorously and affirmatively deny all allegations of wrongdoing and damages in this lawsuit, and would allege numerous defenses to the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ claims if the case against them were to proceed. The Court did not decide in favor either of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs or the Settling Defendants, but both sides agreed to the Settlements to resolve the case.
The Court previously approved a settlement between the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Fieldale Farms Corporation. Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs now have reached three proposed settlements with Peco, George’s and Amick. The Direct Purchasers’ case is proceeding against all other Defendants who have not settled the case.
If the Settlements are approved the Settling Defendants will pay up to the following amounts: Peco will pay $5.15 million, George’s will pay $4.25 million, and Amick will pay $3.95 million. Collectively, the Settlements provide up to $13.35 million to the Settlement Class Members. Settlement Class Counsel do not intend to distribute any proceeds from the Settlements to qualifying Settlement Class Members at this time, but instead intend to combine any distribution of the Settlements’ proceeds with proceeds from future settlements or other recoveries in the litigation. You will be provided further notice of any such future settlements or recoveries.
Broilers are defined as chickens raised for meat consumption to be slaughtered before the age of 13 weeks, and which may be sold in a variety of forms, including fresh or frozen, raw or cooked, whole or in parts, or as a meat ingredient in a value added product, but excluding chicken that is grown, processed, and sold according to halal, kosher, free range, or organic standards.
Additional information about the lawsuit and important court documents may be found on the Important Documents and FAQs pages of this website.
Who is included?
For settlement purposes, Settlement Class Members are defined as: all persons (including businesses and companies) who purchased Broilers directly from any of the Defendants or any co-conspirator identified in this notice, or their respective subsidiaries of affiliates, for use or delivery in the United States from at least as early as January 1, 2008 until December 20, 2019. If you are not sure you are included, you can get more information on the FAQs page of this website or by calling toll-free 1-866-552-1178.
Specifically excluded from this Settlement Class are the Defendants; the officers, directors or employees of any Defendant; any entity in which any Defendant has a controlling interest; and any affiliate, legal representative, heir, or assign of any Defendant. Also excluded from this Settlement Class are any federal, state, or local governmental entities, any judicial officer presiding over this action and the members of his/her immediate family and judicial staff, any juror assigned to this action, and any co-conspirator identified in this action.
While the Settlements are only with Peco, George’s, and Amick, the Settlement Class includes persons (including businesses and companies) who purchased Broiler chicken from any of the Defendants or their co-conspirators. If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself, you will be eligible to participate in these Settlements.
These Settlements do not dismiss Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendants other than Peco, George’s, and Amick. These Settlements also do not dismiss the claims of any Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs against Peco, George’s, and Amick, or any other Defendants. Depending on your purchase methods and from whom you purchased Broilers, you could be both a direct purchaser and an indirect purchaser of Broilers.