In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation
Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation
Case No. 16-cv-08637

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • All Defendants, including Fieldale Farms, produce Broilers.  Defendants’ records show that you may have purchased Broilers directly from one or more of the Defendants for use and delivery in the United States between January 1, 2008 and August 18, 2017.  The list of Defendants is in question 2 below.  The Court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about the proposed settlement of certain claims against Fieldale in this class action lawsuit and about your options before the Court decides whether to approve the class action settlement between Defendant Fieldale Farms and Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs (“Settlement”).  If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, you will be bound by the judgment and terms of the Settlement.  The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.  To view the detailed Notice, please visit the Important Documents page.

  • This class action is called In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, N.D. Ill., Case No. 1:16-cv-08637 and is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Durkin is in charge of this class action.

    Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs allege that Defendants and their co-conspirators conspired and combined to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of Broilers, beginning at least as early as January 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 Defendants and co-conspirators named in Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ Second Consolidated Amended Complaint are producers of Broilers and related products in the United States.  The Defendants are: Fieldale Farms; Koch Foods, Inc.; JCG Foods of Alabama, LLC; JCG Foods of Georgia, LLC; Koch Meat Co., Inc.; Tyson Foods, Inc.; Tyson Chicken, Inc.; Tyson Breeders, Inc.; Tyson Poultry, Inc.; Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation; Perdue Farms, Inc.; Perdue Foods LLC; Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Wayne Farms, LLC; Mountaire Farms, Inc.; Mountaire Farms, LLC; Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc.; Peco Foods, Inc.; Foster Farms, LLC; House of Raeford Farms, Inc.; Simmons Foods, Inc.; George’s, Inc.; George’s Farms, Inc.; O.K. Foods, Inc.; O.K. Farms, Inc.; O.K. Industries, Inc.; Claxton Poultry Farms, Inc.; Norman W. Fries, Inc.; Harrison Poultry, Inc.; Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc.; Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC; Mar-Jac Poultry AL, LLC; Mar-Jac AL/MS, Inc.; Mar-Jac Poultry, LLC; Mar-Jac Holdings, LLC; and their related entities.

    This Settlement is only between Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Fieldale Farms. This Settlement does not dismiss Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendants other than Fieldale Farms. This Settlement also does not dismiss the claims of any Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs against Fieldale Farms 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.

    Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs have reached a proposed settlement with one Defendant, Fieldale Farms, but the Direct Purchasers’ case is proceeding against all other Defendants.  If applicable, you will receive a separate notice regarding the progress of the litigation and any resolution of claims against other Defendants.

    Settling Defendant Fieldale Farms vigorously and affirmatively denies all allegations of wrongdoing in this lawsuit and would allege numerous defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims if the case against it were to proceed.  Despite its belief that it is not liable for, and has strong defenses to, the Claims asserted by the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs, Fieldale agreed to settle this action to avoid the further expense, inconvenience, disruption, and burden of this litigation and any other present or future litigation arising out of the facts that gave rise to this litigation, to avoid the risks inherent in uncertain complex litigation and trial, and thereby to put to rest this controversy.  To view the Second Consolidated Amended Complaint, visit the Important Documents page.

  • 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.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more people or businesses called class representatives sue on behalf of others who have similar claims, all of whom together are a “class.”  Individual class members do not have to file a lawsuit to participate in the class action Settlement, or be bound by the judgment in the class action.  One court resolves the issues for everyone in the class, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs or Fieldale Farms.  Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs believe they may have won at trial and possibly obtained a greater recovery.  Fieldale Farms believes the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs may not have won at a trial.  But trials involve risks to both sides, and therefore Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Fieldale Farms have agreed to a settlement.  The Settlement requires Fieldale Farms to pay money, as well as cooperate with Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs.  This cooperation includes producing relevant documents, making current or former employees available for interviews and depositions, and providing a description of certain facts known to Fieldale that the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs contend are relevant to the conduct at issue in the litigation.  Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the Settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.

  • You may have received other communications regarding this lawsuit, including solicitations by other attorneys seeking to represent you as a Direct Action Plaintiff in an individual lawsuit against Defendants.  These communications were not approved by the Court and did not come from Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel.  You should carefully review the Notice (linked on the Important Documents page) and your rights as a Class Member before deciding whether to opt out or stay in the Class.  If you have questions about this litigation and your rights as a Class Member, please contact Co-Lead Class Counsel whose contact information is listed in question 18 below.

    You also likely will receive offers from companies, not affiliated with the Court or Class Counsel, who will offer to complete and file your claim in return for a percentage of the value of your claim.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO FILE YOUR CLAIM.  Before you sign a contract with one of these companies, you should wait until a claim process is announced in this case.  At that time you can examine the official claim-filing process, and then you can decide whether it is worth the cost to pay someone to file your claim.  You can always seek help from the Notice Administrator or Class Counsel at no charge.

  • The Court decided that, for settlement purposes, 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 the 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 August 18, 2017.

    If you satisfy these criteria, then you are a Class Member, subject to the exception listed in question 9 below.

    While this Settlement is only with Fieldale Farms, the Class includes persons who purchased Broilers from any of the Defendants or their co-conspirators.  If you are a Class Member and do not exclude yourself, you may be eligible to participate in any additional settlements which may arise with any other Defendants in the case.

  • No. This Settlement only covers entities that directly purchased chicken from a Defendant, not farmers or growers who raised Broilers for Defendants.

  • Yes.  Specifically excluded from this 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 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.

    If you are in one of these categories, you are not a Class Member and not eligible to participate in the Settlement.

  • If you are still not sure if you are included, please review this website, including the Settlement Agreement, which is available for download on the Important Documents page, for more information.  You may also call the Settlement Administrator at 1-866-552-1178 or call or write to Co-Lead Counsel at the phone numbers or addresses listed in question 18 below.

  • If the Settlement is approved, Fieldale Farms will pay $2,250,000 to resolve all Direct Purchaser Class Members’ claims against it in this litigation against Fieldale Farms.  In addition to this monetary benefit, Fieldale Farms has also agreed to cooperate in good faith with Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs in the litigation against the other Defendants.  This cooperation includes producing relevant documents; making current or former employees available for interviews and depositions; and providing a description of the principal facts known to Fieldale Farms that are relevant to the litigation.

  • A portion of the Settlement proceeds are being used for the administration of the Notice by the Settlement Administrator.  The remainder of the Settlement proceeds will remain available for any future notice, distribution to Class Members, or attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and incentive awards to Plaintiffs and their counsel.  At this time, Plaintiffs and their counsel are not seeking any attorneys’ fees, non-administration expenses, or incentive awards from the Settlement proceeds.  However, they may do so in the future, subject to additional notice to you and approval by the Court.  Class Counsel do not intend to distribute any proceeds from the Fieldale Settlement to qualifying Class Members at this time, but instead intend to combine any distribution of the Fieldale Settlement 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.

  • Class Counsel do not intend to distribute any proceeds from the Fieldale Settlement to qualifying Class Members at this time, but instead intend to combine any distribution of the Fieldale Settlement 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, and at the time settlement proceeds are to be distributed to qualifying Class Members, you will be provided a claim form.

  • Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class, which means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Fieldale Farms that pertains to the same legal issues in this case.  It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.  The Released Claims are detailed in the Settlement Agreement, available on the Important Documents page.

    You are not releasing your claims against any Defendant other than Fieldale Farms by staying in the lawsuit.

  • If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class, and participate in this settlement and any future settlements or judgments obtained by Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class was on October 15, 2018.

  • No.  Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Fieldale Farms for the same claims that the Settlement resolves.  If you have a pending lawsuit against Fieldale Farms, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately to determine whether you must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit against Fieldale Farms.

    By staying in the lawsuit you are not releasing your claims in this case against any Defendant other than Fieldale Farms.

  • If you are a Class Member and have not excluded yourself from the Settlement, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like part or all of it.  The Court will consider your views.

    To object, you must send a letter or other written statement saying that you object to the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ Settlement with Fieldale Farms in In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation and the reasons why you object to the Settlement.  Be sure to include your full name, the name of your business which purchased Broilers, current mailing address, and email address.  Your objection must be signed.  You may include or attach any documents that you would like the Court to consider.  Do not send your written objection to the Court or the judge.  Instead, mail the objection to the Settlement Administrator, Co-Lead Counsel, and Counsel for Settling Defendant at the addresses listed below.

    The deadline to object to the Settlement was on October 15, 2018.

    Settlement Administrator:

    Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91343
    Seattle, WA 98111
    (866) 552-1178

    Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs'
    Co-Lead Counsel:


    W. Joseph Bruckner
    LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN P.L.L.P.
    100 Washington Ave. S.
    Ste. 2220
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    (612) 339-6900

    Bruce L. Simon
    PEARSON, SIMON & WARSHAW, LLP
    44 Montgomery St.
    Ste. 2450
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    (877) 391-8300

    Counsel for Settling Defendant Fieldale Farms:

    B. Parker Miller
    Valarie C. Williams
    James Cash
    Max Marks
    ALSTON & BIRD LLP
    1201 W. Peachtree St.
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    (404) 881-7000

  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement.  You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Class.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class or the lawsuit.  If you exclude yourself, you have no standing to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court has appointed W. Joseph Bruckner of Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. and Bruce L. Simon of Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP as Co-Lead Counsel on behalf of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Class Members.  Their contact information is provided above in question 18.

    If you wish to remain a Class Member, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Co-Lead Counsel is working on your behalf.

    If you wish to pursue your own case separate from this one, or if you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, these lawyers will no longer represent you.  You will need to hire your own lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against Fieldale.

  • At this time, Co-Lead Counsel are not asking the Court to award any attorneys’ fees from the Settlement with Fieldale Farms.  In the future, Co-Lead Counsel may ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of reasonable and necessary litigation expenses from the Fieldale Settlement or any other settlement or other recovery in this litigation.  At such time, and prior to any Court approval, Class Members will be provided with notice of the amount of fees or expenses sought by Class Counsel and the opportunity to be heard by the Court.  You will not have to pay any fees or costs out-of-pocket.

  • The Court held a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement. You could have attended and you could have asked to speak, but you did not have to. The Court held a Fairness Hearing at 9 a.m. on November 13, 2018, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Dirksen Federal Building, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois in Courtroom 1441.  At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there were objections, the Court considered them. The Court listened to people who asked to speak at the hearing. After the Fairness Hearing, the Court approved the Settlement on November 16, 2018.

  • No. Co-Lead Counsel answered any questions the Court had. However, you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you submitted an objection, you did not have to come to court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court considered it. You were also allowed to pay your own lawyer to attend, but it was not necessary.

  • The deadline to request to speak at the Fairness Hearing was on October 15, 2018.

  • More details are in the Fieldale Settlement Agreement.  You can find a copy of the Settlement Agreement, as well as other important documents, on the Important Documents page.  Please continue to visit this website for updates about the litigation.  You may contact the Settlement Administrator by sending an email on the Contact Us page or calling toll-free at 1-866-552-1178.  You may also contact Co-Lead Counsel at the address, phone number, and email address provided in question 18.  Please do not contact the Court regarding this settlement.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91343
Seattle, WA 98111