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 the Settling Defendants produce Broiler chicken. Records from all Defendants show that you may have purchased Broiler chicken products directly from one or more Defendants for use and delivery in the United States between at least as early as January 1, 2008 and December 20, 2019. The list of Defendants is in Section 2 below and in the operative Complaint.

    The Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about the three Settlements of certain claims by Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs against the Settling Defendants in this class action lawsuit. The Court has approved the Settlements, and after any appeals are resolved, you will be bound by the judgment and terms of the Settlements. This notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlements, and your legal rights.

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

    Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs alleged 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 Defendants and co-conspirators named in Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ Fourth Consolidated Amended Complaint are producers of Broiler chicken and Broiler chicken products in the United States.  The Defendants include: Fieldale Farms Corporation; 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, Amick Farms, LLC, Case Foods, Inc., Case Farms, LLC, Case Farms Processing, Inc., and Agri Stats, Inc.

    The Court previously approved a settlement between the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Fieldale Farms Corporation.  Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs now have reached three settlements with Peco, George’s and Amick.  The Direct Purchasers’ case is proceeding against all other Defendants who have not settled the case.  If applicable, you will receive a separate notice regarding the progress of the litigation and any resolution of claims against other Defendants.

    The Settling Defendants vigorously and affirmatively denied all allegations of wrongdoing and damages in this lawsuit, and would have alleged numerous defenses to the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ claims if the case against them had proceeded.  Nevertheless, the Settling Defendants 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.

  • 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 Settlement 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 either of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs or the Settling Defendants.  Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs believed they may have won at trial and possibly obtained a greater recovery.  The Settling Defendants believed they may have won at a trial and that Plaintiffs might have recovered nothing against them.  But trials involve risks to both sides, and therefore Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and the Settling Defendants have agreed to settle the case.  The three Settlements require Peco, George’s, and Amick to pay money on behalf of the Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Settlement Class Members.  Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the Settlements are in the best interests of all Class Members.

  • A previous notice went to the Direct Purchaser Class Members regarding the Fieldale settlement.  You are permitted to participate in these Settlements regardless of whether you excluded yourself from the Fieldale settlement.

    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—unlike this notice—did not come from Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel.  You should carefully review this notice and your rights as a Class Member.  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 17 below.

  • The Court decided that, 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 satisfy these criteria, then you are a Settlement Class Member, subject to the exception listed in Section 7 below.

    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 did not exclude yourself, you will be eligible to participate in these Settlements.

  • Yes. 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.

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

  • If you are still not sure if you are included, please review the detailed information contained in the Settlement Agreements, available on the Important Documents page.  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 17 below.

  • In accordance with the Settlements, Settling Defendants must pay the following amounts: Peco will pay $4,964,600, George’s will pay $4,097,000, and Amick will pay $3,950,000.00.  Collectively, the Settlements provide $13,011,600 to the Settlement Class Members.  The Settling Defendants will also cooperate with Direct Purchaser Plaintiff's to authenticate documents in the litigation to be used against other Defendants.

  • A portion of the Settlements’ proceeds are being used by the Settlement Administrator to administer the Notice.  The remainder of the Settlements’ proceeds will remain available for distributions to Settlement Class Members, any future notice costs, and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and incentive awards that the Court chooses to award to Plaintiffs.  At this time, Plaintiffs and their counsel are not seeking any attorneys’ fees, non-administration expenses, or incentive awards from the Settlements’ proceeds.  However, they may do so in the future, subject to additional notice to you and approval by the Court.  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. In addition, please consult the case website regularly for updates on the case. 

  • Unless you excluded yourself from one or more of the Settlements, 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 the Settling Defendants that makes claims based on the same legal issues alleged or could have been alleged in this case.  It also means that all Court orders will apply to you and legally bind you. The Released Claims are detailed in the Settlement Agreements, available on the Important Documents page.  

    You are not releasing your claims against any Defendant other than Peco, George’s, and Amick by staying in the Settlement Class.

  • If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class, and participate in the Settlements obtained by Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlements was March 9, 2020 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself from one or more of the Settlement Agreements, you gave up the right to sue that Settling Defendant for the claims that Settlement resolves.  Thus, if you did not exclude yourself from any of the three Settlement Agreements in this Notice, you gave up the right to sue Peco, George’s and Amick for the same claims that their Settlements resolve.  If you have your own pending lawsuit against any of the Settling Defendants, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately.

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

  • The deadline to object to the Settlements was March 9, 2020 and has passed.

  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlements.  You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class or the lawsuit.  If you exclude yourself, you have no standing to object because the case no longer affects you. The deadline for both objecting and asking to be excluded has passed.

  • The Court has appointed Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP as Co-Lead Counsel on behalf of Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Settlement Class Members.  Their contact information is provided below. If you are a Settlement 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 excluded yourself from the Settlement Class, these lawyers will no longer represent you.  You may need to hire your own lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against the Settling Defendants.   

    W. Joseph Bruckner

    Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.

    100 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 2220

    Minneapolis, MN 55401

    (612) 339-6900

    Bobby Pouya

    Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP

    15165 Ventura Blvd, Suite 400

    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

    (818) 788-8300

  • At this time, Co-Lead Counsel are not asking the Court to award any attorneys’ fees from the Settlements.  In the future, Co-Lead Counsel may ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of reasonable and necessary litigation expenses from the Settlements with the Settling Defendants or any other settlement or other recovery in this litigation.  At such time, and prior to any Court approval, Settlement 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 final hearing on October 26, 2020, and determined that the Settlements were fair, reasonable, and adequate.  The Court's orders entering final judgment and granting final approval to the Settlements are available here.

  • The notice summarizes the Settlements.  More details are in the Settlement Agreements.  You can find a copy of the Settlement Agreements and other important documents by visiting the Important Documents page.  You may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@broilerchickenantitrustlitigation.com or 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 17.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THE NOTICE.

For More Information

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Mail

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