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 and/or alleged Co-Conspirators for use and delivery in the United States between January 1, 2008, and December 20, 2019. The list of Defendants and alleged Co-Conspirators is in FAQ 2 below and in the operative Complaint available for download on the Important Documents page.

    The Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about the proposed New Settlements, certain claims by Plaintiffs against the Settling Defendants in this class action lawsuit, and about your options before the Court decides whether to approve the proposed New Settlements. If the Court approves the New Settlements, and after objections and appeals are resolved, you will be bound by the judgment and terms of the New Settlements. This notice explains the lawsuit, the New Settlements, and your legal rights under the New Settlements.

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

    Plaintiffs allege that Defendants implemented their conspiracy in various ways, including via coordinated supply restrictions, sharing competitively sensitive price and production information, and otherwise manipulating Broiler prices, with the intent and expected result of increasing prices of Broilers in the United States, in violation of federal antitrust laws.

    The Defendants and alleged Co-Conspirators named in Plaintiffs’ Fifth Consolidated Amended Complaint are producers of Broiler chicken and Broiler chicken products in the United States. The Defendants and alleged Co-Conspirators 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.; Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Foods Division); Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Production Division); Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division); Wayne Farms, LLC; Mountaire Farms, Inc.; Mountaire Farms, LLC; Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc.; Peco Foods, Inc.; Foster Farms, LLC; Foster Poultry Farms; House of Raeford Farms, Inc.; Simmons Foods, Inc.; Simmons Prepared 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, Inc.; Amick Farms, LLC; The Amick Company, Inc.; Amick-OSI Broilers, LLC; Amick-OSI Processing, LLC; Case Foods, Inc.; Case Farms, LLC; Case Farms Processing, Inc.; Agri Stats, Inc.; Keystone Foods, LLC; Keystone Foods Corporation; Equity Group Eufaula Division, LLC; Equity Group Kentucky Division LLC; Equity Group – Georgia Division LLC; Allen Harim USA, Ltd.; Allen Harim Foods, LLC; Allen Harim Farms, LLC; JCG Industries, Inc.; JCG Properties, Inc.; JCG Land Holdings, LLC; JCG Foods LLC; Koch Foods of Cumming LLC; Koch Foods of Gainesville LLC; JCG Farms of Georgia LLC; Koch Foods of Mississippi LLC; Koch Farms of Mississippi LLC; Koch Freezers LLC; Koch Properties of Mississippi LLC; Koch Foods of Alabama LLC; Koch Farms of Alabama LLC; JCG Farms of Alabama LLC; Koch Foods of Ashland LLC; Koch Farms of Ashland LLC; Koch Farms of Gadsden LLC; Koch Foods of Gadsden LLC; Koch Foods of Cincinnati LLC; Koch Foods LLC; Koch Farms LLC; Koch Farms of Chattanooga LLC; Koch Foods of Chattanooga LLC; Koch Foods of Morristown LLC; Koch Farms of Morristown LLC; Tyson Sales & Distribution, Inc.; Perdue Foods, Inc.; Harvestland Holdings, LLC; Perdue Food Products, Inc.; Perdue Farms, LLC; Perdue Farms Incorporated; WFSP Foods, LLC; George’s Chicken, LLC; George’s Family Farms, LLC; George’s Foods, LLC; George’s of Missouri, Inc.; George’s Processing, Inc.; Peco Farms of Mississippi, LLC; PFS Distribution Company; Merit Provisions, LLC; GC Properties, LLC; Pilgrim’s Pride of Nevada, Inc.; PPC Marketing, Ltd.; Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation of West Virginia, Inc.; Foster International Trading Company, Inc.; Napoleon Poultry Supply, LLC; O.K. Broiler Farms Limited Partnership; House of Raeford Farms of Louisiana, LLC; Johnson Breeders, Inc.; Columbia Farms of Georgia, Inc.; Raeford Farms of Louisiana, LLC; and Columbia Farms, Inc. The Court previously gave final approval to settlements between the Plaintiffs and Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Fieldale Farms, Peco, George’s, and Amick.

    The Court has now preliminarily approved a settlement with Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry. The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ 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 New Settling Defendants have not admitted any liability, continue to deny the legal claims alleged in this lawsuit, and would allege numerous defenses to the Plaintiffs’ claims if the case against them were to proceed. Nevertheless, the New Settling Defendants have 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 Plaintiffs or New Settling Defendants. Plaintiffs believe they may win at trial and possibly obtain a greater recovery. New Settling Defendants believe they may win at trial and that Plaintiffs might recover nothing against them. But trials involve risks to both sides, and therefore Plaintiffs and the New Settling Defendants have agreed to settle the case. The New Settlements require the New Settling Defendants to pay money for the benefit of the Settlement Class members. Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the New Settlements are in the best interests of all Settlement Class members.

  • You may have already received notice regarding settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants. You are permitted to participate in the New Settlements with Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry regardless of whether you excluded yourself from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants.

    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. Contrary to what you may have been told in such solicitations, you do not need to opt out of this class action or file an individual lawsuit to protect your rights in this litigation. You also may have received solicitations from persons seeking to purchase your claim or represent you as a Settlement Class member.

    None of these communications have been approved by the Court and—unlike this notice— they did not come from Court- appointed Co-Lead Counsel for the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs. You should carefully review this notice and your rights as a Settlement Class member before deciding whether to opt out or stay in the Class. In addition, you do not need to retain or pay anyone in order to receive the benefits provided to Settlement Class members in this lawsuit.

    If you have questions about this litigation and your rights as a Settlement Class member, please contact Co-Lead Counsel, whose contact information is listed in FAQ 14 below.

  • The Court decided that, for settlement purposes, Settlement Class members are defined as follows for the New Settlements:

    All persons who purchased Broilers directly from any of the Defendants or any Co-Conspirator identified in this action, or their respective subsidiaries or 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 exceptions listed in FAQ 7 below.

    While the New Settlements are only with Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry, the Settlement Class includes persons (including businesses and companies) who purchased Broiler chicken from any of the Defendants or their alleged Co-Conspirators. If you are a Settlement Class member and do not exclude yourself, you will be eligible to participate in the New 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 alleged 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 New 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 FAQ 14 below.

  • If the New Settlements are approved, Mar-Jac will pay $7,975,000.00 and Harrison Poultry will pay $3,300,000.00. Of the Previous Settling Defendants, Tyson has paid $79,340,000, Pilgrim’s Pride has paid $75,000,000, Peco has paid $4,964,600, George’s has paid $4,097,000, Amick has paid $3,950,000, and Fieldale Farms has paid $2,250,000. Collectively, all Settlements to date provide $180,876,600 in Settlement Proceeds.

    Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry have agreed to provide testimony, where they reasonably can, to authenticate and provide foundation for admissibility of documents, which may assist Plaintiffs in the prosecution of their claims against the remaining Defendants in the case. The New Settlements contain a termination provision based on opt-outs exceeding 50% of each New Settling Defendant’s total Broiler sales for the Class Period (January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019). This is explained in Section 21 of the Settlement Agreements. Plaintiffs will report on the number of opt-outs and, if applicable, each New Settling Defendant’s decision regarding this provision prior to final approval.

    A portion of the Settlement Proceeds has been and will be used for notice and administration costs. The remainder of the Settlement Proceeds will remain available for any future notice, pro rata distribution to members of the Settlement Class, and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and incentive awards to Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and their counsel. At this time, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and their counsel are not seeking any attorneys’ fees, non-administration expenses, or incentive awards from the Settlement Proceeds. However, they will do so in the future, subject to additional notice to you and approval by the Court.

    Co-Lead Counsel do not intend to distribute any proceeds from the New Settlements to qualifying members of the Settlement Class at this time, but instead intend to combine any distribution of the proceeds from the New Settlements with proceeds from future settlements or other recoveries in the litigation. You will be provided further notice of any such future settlements or recoveries.

  • Unless you exclude yourself from the New Settlements with Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry, 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 Mar-Jac or Harrison Poultry that pertain to the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreements). 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 Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry by staying in the Settlement Class. The deadline to request exclusion from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed. 

  • Unless you exclude yourself from the New Settlements, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the New Settling Defendants about the claims that the New Settlements resolve, ever again. The deadline to request exclusion from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed.

  • If you do not want the benefits offered by the New Settlements with Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry, and you do not want to be legally bound by them, or if you wish to pursue your own separate lawsuit against Mar-Jac or Harrison Poultry, you must exclude yourself by submitting a written request to the Settlement Administrator by December 21, 2021, stating your intent to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. The deadline to request exclusion from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed.

    Your Exclusion Request must include the following: (a) your name, including the name of your business which purchased Broiler chicken, and address; (b) a statement that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class in In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation; (c) which of the Settlement Agreements (i.e., Mar-Jac and/or Harrison Poultry) you wish to be excluded from; and (d) your signature or your attorneys’ signature. If you intend to exclude subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions, related or controlled entities, entities under common control, predecessors-in-interest, or any other related entity, such entities must be expressly identified by name and address in your request.

    Additionally, if you intend to exclude claims that were assigned to you from another potential Settlement Class member, you must include the assignor’s name; whether the assignor fully or partially assigned their Broiler chicken claims; the annual value of Broiler chicken purchases assigned, identified by Defendant or Co-Conspirator from whom the purchases were made; and a copy of the executed assignment agreement or a statement outlining the assignment signed by both the assignor and assignee.

    You must mail or email your exclusion, postmarked or emailed by December 21, 2021, to: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation – Mar-Jac/Harrison Poultry Settlement, c/o A.B. Data, Ltd., P.O. Box 173001, Milwaukee, WI 53217 or info@broilerdirectlitigation.com.

  • No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Mar-Jac and Harrison Poultry for the same claims that the New Settlements resolve. If you have a pending lawsuit against Mar-Jac or Harrison Poultry, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately to determine whether you must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit.

    By staying in the Settlement Class, you are not releasing your claims in this case against any Defendant other than the New Settling Defendants. The deadline to request exclusion from the Previous Settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed.

  • If you are a Settlement Class member and have not excluded yourself from the New Settlements, you can object to the New Settlements with the New Settling Defendants if you don’t like part or all of them. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter or other written statement saying that you object to the New Settlements with New Settling Defendants in In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, state which of the New Settlements (i.e., Mar-Jac and/or Harrison Poultry) you are objecting to, and the reasons why you object to the New Settlements. Be sure to include your full name, the name of your business that purchased Broiler chicken, 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 the Settling Defendants at the addresses listed below. Your objection must be postmarked no later than December 21, 2021. The deadline to object to the Previous Settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed.

    Settlement Administrator Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel

    Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation
    Mar-Jac/Harrison Poultry Settlement
    Attn: OBJECTIONS
    c/o A.B. Data, Ltd.
    P.O. Box 173001
    Milwaukee, WI 53217
    (866) 552-1178

    W. Joseph Bruckner
    Brian D. Clark
    Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
    100 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 2200
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    (612) 339-6900

    Clifford H. Pearson
    Bobby Pouya
    Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP
    15165 Ventura Blvd., Suite 400
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    (818) 788-8300

     

    Counsel for Defendant Mar-Jac

    Edward C. Konieczny
    Edward C. Konieczny LLC
    1105 W. Peachtree Street NE, Ste. 1000
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    (404) 380-1430

    David C. Newman
    Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
    1105 W. Peachtree Street NE, Ste. 1000
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    (404) 815-3500

     

    Counsel for Defendant Harrison Poultry
    Patricia A. Gorham
    James R. McGibbon
    Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
    999 Peachtree Street, NE, Ste. 2300
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    (404) 853-8000
  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the New 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 Court has appointed Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP as Co-Lead Counsel on behalf of Plaintiffs and Settlement Class members. Their contact information is provided above in FAQ 14. If you wish to remain a Settlement Class member, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Co-Lead Counsel are working on your behalf, but may do so at your own expense if you so choose.

    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 may need to hire your own lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against the Settling Defendants.

  • Co-Lead Counsel are not asking the Court to award any attorneys’ fees from the Settlements with the New Settling Defendants at this time. In the future, Co-Lead Counsel will ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of reasonable and necessary litigation expenses from the New Settlements and/or any other future settlement or recovery in this litigation. At such time, and prior to any Court approval, members of the Settlement Class will be provided with notice of the amount of fees or expenses sought by Co-Lead 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 will hold a Fairness Hearing to decide whether to approve the New Settlements at 1:00 p.m. Central time on January 25, 2022. The hearing will be held via telephone, and dial in information will be available on the Court’s docket and this website. Do not go to the Court in person unless there is notice that the hearing will be conducted in person. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the New Settlements are fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. You may attend and you may ask to speak, if you make a request as instructed in FAQ 20, but you don’t have to. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the New Settlements. We do not know how long the Court will take to decide. The date of the hearing may change without further notice to the Class, so please check this website for updates.

  • No. Co-Lead Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

  • You may ask to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation.” Be sure to include your name, and the name of your business that purchased Broiler chicken, current mailing address, telephone number, and signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than December 21, 2021, and it must be sent to the Clerk of the Court, Co-Lead Counsel, and Defense Counsel. The address for the Clerk of the Court is: Clerk of the United States District Court, Dirksen Federal Building, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604. The addresses for Co-Lead Counsel and Defense Counsel are provided in FAQ 14. You cannot ask to speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the New Settlements.

  • The Notice summarizes the proposed New Settlements. More details are in the Settlement Agreements. You can find copies of the Settlement Agreements and other important documents on the Important Documents page. Information about the current status of the litigation will be available on this website. You may also contact Co-Lead Counsel at the addresses and phone numbers provided in FAQ 14.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THIS NOTICE.

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