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 Question 2 below and in the operative Complaint.

    The Court authorized the notice because you had 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 decided to approve the New Settlements. The Court gave final approval of the New Settlements on June 29, 2021. Once any objections and appeals are resolved, you will be bound by the judgment and terms of the New Settlements. The notice explains the lawsuit, the New Settlements, and your legal rights under the New Settlements and Previous 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, LLC; 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 Fieldale Farms, Peco, George’s, and Amick. The Court has now given final approval of the settlements with Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride. 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 concerning and 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 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 the New Settling Defendants. Plaintiffs believed they may have won at trial and possibly obtained a greater recovery. The New Settling Defendants believed they may have won at trial and that Plaintiffs might have recovered nothing against them. But trials involve risks to both sides, and therefore Plaintiffs and the New Settling Defendants 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.

  • Settlement Class members already received notice regarding settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants. You were permitted to participate in the New Settlements with the New Settling Defendants regardless of whether you excluded yourself from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants. In order to receive money from the New Settlements and Previous Settlements you must have submitted a Claim Form by May 17, 2021.

    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 did 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 Class Member.

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

  • The Court decided that, for settlement purposes, Settlement Class members are defined as follows for all settlements except for the Fieldale Farms settlement:

    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.

    The class period for the Fieldale Farms settlement is January 1, 2008 through August 18, 2017.

    If you satisfy these criteria, then you are a Settlement Class member, subject to the exceptions listed in Question 7 below.

    While the New Settlements are only with the New Settling Defendants, 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 did not exclude yourself, you were eligible to participate in the New Settlements. The deadline to file a claim and participate in the Settlements passed on May 17, 2021.

  • 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 you were 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 of this website. You may also call the Settlement Administrator at 1-866-552-1178. The deadline to file a claim passed on May 17, 2021.

  • The Court gave final approval of the New Settlements on June 29, 2021. Under the New Settlements, the New Settling Defendants will pay up to the following amounts: Tyson will pay $80,000,000, and Pilgrim’s Pride will pay $75,000,000. Of the Previous Settling Defendants, 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 up to $170,261,600 in Settlement Proceeds.

    A portion of the Settlement Proceeds has been and will be used by the Settlement Administrator for notice and administration costs. The Settlement Proceeds will also be used to pay attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and incentive awards that the Court chooses to award. Plaintiffs and Co-Lead Counsel filed a motion by April 16, 2021, in which they sought amounts not to exceed 33⅓% of the Settlement Proceeds in attorneys’ fees, $4.5 million in current and ongoing litigation expenses, and $25,000 in service awards for each of the five Plaintiffs who are serving as Class Representatives. A copy of the motion for distribution of Settlement Proceeds and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and service awards is available on the Important Documents page of this website. The remainder of the Settlement Proceeds will be distributed to Settlement Class members who submitted a timely and valid Claim Form and who did not exclude themselves from the Settlements on a pro rata basis pursuant to their Broiler purchases from January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019.

    The New Settling Defendants also agreed to cooperate with Plaintiffs including by providing information, making witnesses available at trial, and authenticating documents in the litigation to be used against the remaining Defendants. The New Settlement amounts may be reduced based on the portion of Settlement Class members who excluded themselves from these New Settlements. This is explained in Section II.E.10.b of the New Settlement Agreements. Plaintiffs reported to the Court on the number of exclusions and final amount paid by New Settling Defendants in their motion for final approval of the New Settlements.

  • To be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlements (New and Previous), a timely Claim Form must have been submitted by the May 17, 2021 deadline. 

    The amount received from the Settlements by a qualified claimant will be based on a number of factors, including the number of Settlement Class members who have validly excluded themselves from one or more of the Settlements and the amount of Broiler purchases by each participating Class Member from January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019. No matter how many claims were filed, no money will be returned to the Settling Defendants now that the Court has granted final approval of the Settlements and certifies the Settlement Class. The Court granted final approval on June 29, 2021.

    Payments from the Settlements will only be made to Class Members after the Court has granted final approval of the Settlements and any objections and appeals are resolved. The Court granted final approval of the Settlements on June 29, 2021. In accordance with the Settlement Agreements, the combined Settlement Proceeds, minus Court-approved attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses, any Class Representative Service Award approved by the Court, and Settlement Administration and notice expenses (the “Net Settlement Fund”), will be distributed to Class Members on a pro rata basis based on the amount of Broiler purchases by each participating Class Member. The distribution plan, as approved by the Court, will determine the amount, if any, that each Class Member will receive. The proposed distribution plan for the Settlements is to make a pro rata distribution to each qualifying Class Member based on the dollar value of approved purchases of Broilers per Settlement Class member during the Settlement Class Period.

  • To be eligible to receive a payment from any of the Settlements, you had to complete and submit a timely Claim Form by May 17, 2021. You could have submitted your Claim Form online by May 17, 2021 or filled out the Claim Form and mailed it to the Settlement Administrator, postmarked no later than May 17, 2021. If you did not submit a valid Claim Form by the deadline, you will not receive a payment from any of the Settlements, but you will be bound by the Court’s judgment in these actions.

    Your Claim Form was mailed to you along with the notice. It was pre-populated to reflect the amount of your Broiler purchases from each Defendant and alleged Co-Conspirator, based on a review of Defendants’ records. You could have accepted the purchase amounts that were prepopulated or, if you disagreed with those amounts, you could have challenged them by completing a Purchase Audit Request form and submitting it with your Claim Form and supporting documentation.

    If you submitted a Purchase Audit Request form, it had to list ALL purchases from the Defendants and alleged Co-Conspirators that are being claimed during the relevant time periods, including any purchases pre-populated on your Claim Form. All revised Broiler purchase amounts are subject to a review process by the Settlement Administrator, Co-Lead Counsel, and ultimately the Court. You were required to submit the Purchase Audit Request form, Claim Form, and supporting documentation to the Settlement Administrator by May 17, 2021 (postmarked or submitted online).

    The deadline to file a Claim Form and Purchase Audit Request form passed on May 17, 2021.

  • The Court granted final approval of the New Settlements on June 29, 2021, however, payments from the Settlements will not be distributed until any objections or appeals are resolved. It is uncertain whether and when any appeals will be resolved. Settlement updates will be provided on this website, or may be obtained by contacting the Settlement Administrator by phone toll-free at 1-866-552-1178. Please be patient.

  • Unless you excluded yourself from one or more of the New Settlements with Tyson and Pilgrim’s, you are still in the Settlement Class, which means that you can’t sue, or continue to sue, the New Settling Defendants about the claims that the New Settlements resolve through February 23, 2021. It also means that all Court orders will apply to you and legally bind you. The Released Claims, which go through February 23, 2021, are detailed in the Settlement Agreements, available on the Important Documents page.

    You are not releasing your claims against any Defendant other than Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride by staying in the Settlement Class. The deadline to request exclusion from the settlements with the Previous Settling Defendants has already passed.

    Please be advised that the class period for the New Settlements is January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019 and payments for participating Class Members will be distributed on a pro rata basis pursuant to their Broiler purchases from January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019.

  • Yes, you were required to complete, sign and submit a timely Claim Form by May 17, 2021 to be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlements (New and Previous). If you did not submit a valid Claim Form by the deadline, you will not receive a payment from any of the Settlements. The deadline to file a Claim Form passed on May 17, 2021. 

  • If you did nothing, you will not get a payment from the New Settlements or Previous Settlements. Unless you excluded 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.

  • The deadline to opt out or exclude yourself from the Settlements was on May 17, 2021 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself from one or more of the New Settlements (i.e., Tyson and/or Pilgrim’s Pride), you gave up the right to sue the New Settling Defendants for the claims that the New Settlements resolve. Thus, if you did not exclude yourself from any of the New Settlements with the New Settling Defendants, you gave up the right to sue Tyson and/or Pilgrim’s Pride for the same claims that their settlements resolve through February 23, 2021.

    By staying in the lawsuit, you are not releasing your claims in this case against any Defendant other than the New Settling Defendants through February 23, 2021. The deadlines to request exclusion from all Settlements (New and Previous) with the Previous Settling Defendants have already passed.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlements was May 17, 2021 and has passed.

  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the New Settlements. You could have objected only if you did 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 excluded yourself, you had no standing to object because the case no longer affected 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. If you wished to remain a Settlement Class member, you did not need to hire your own lawyer because Co-Lead Counsel were working on your behalf, but may do so at your own expense if you so choose.

    If you excluded yourself from the Settlement Class, these lawyers will not represent you. You may need to hire your own lawyer if you wish to pursue your own lawsuit against the Settling Defendants.

     

    Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel
    W. Joseph Bruckner
    Brian D. Clark
    Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
    100 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 2220
    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
     
  • You will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees or costs out-of-pocket. Co-Lead Counsel filed a motion by April 16, 2021, in which they sought amounts not to exceed 33⅓% of the Settlement Proceeds in attorneys’ fees, and $4.5 million in current and ongoing litigation expenses incurred in the prosecution of this case on behalf of the Settlement Class. A copy of the motion for attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses is available on the Important Documents page of this website and on the Court docket. The Court determined the amount of the attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses that should be paid to Co-Lead Counsel in this case.

  • On June 29, 2021, the Court granted Final Approval of the New Settlements.

  • The Final Approval Hearing took place on June 29, 2021, and has passed.

  • The deadline to state your intentions to speak at the hearing was May 17, 2021 and has passed. 

  • The notice summarizes the proposed New Settlements. More details are in the Settlement Agreements. You can find a copy of the Settlement Agreements, other important documents, and information about the current status of the litigation by visiting the Important Documents page. You may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@broilerchickenantitrustlitigation.com or toll-free at (866) 552-1178

    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