Residents of certain states of the US filed a class action claim against six poultry producers who conspired to fix the price of broiler chicken. The settlement has been approved in Illinois federal court and claims made are expected to be honored from the collective fund offered by the defendants once the claims against the remaining defendants have been settled.
Eligibility For Making Claim: A claim can be made by residents of California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island (after 15th July 2013), South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin or the District of Columbia between 1st January 2009 to 31st July 2019 (except for Rhode Island, which is from July 15, 2013), who indirectly purchased whole cut-up birds within a package, frozen or fresh raw chicken, or “white meat” components including wings and breasts from the Defendants. However, it excludes chicken marketed as kosher, halal, organic, or free-range. A slightly longer claim period ranging between 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2020 is covered by the Pilgrim’s settlement.
Proof Of Purchase: This does not require any proof of purchase.
Potential Claim Amount: As attorneys keep on with the unsettled cases against remaining defendants no payments shall be made as of now. Class Members are eligible to receive a pro rata portion of the settlement fund depending on their chicken purchases during the aforementioned period. This amount will be collected after deducting expenses such as attorney’s fees from the settlement fund.
Case Summary: A $181 million settlement received the final approval of a federal judge in Illinois. This settlement was reached between end-user consumers and six poultry producers who were accused of conspiring to fix chicken broiler prices. The defendants in this case were
Peco Foods, Fieldale Farms, George’s, Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Mar-Jac Poultry, who settled with the consumer plaintiffs.
The settlement amount varied between companies with Pilgrim and Tyson having to make contributions of $75.5 million and $99 million each. George’s and Peco contributed $1.9 million each whereas Mar-Jac and Fieldale offered $1 million and $1.7 million respectively. Various poultry companies are being investigated by the Department of Justice in an ongoing anti-competitive probe for price-fixing. Claims are still being pursued by consumers against 12 more poultry companies such as Perdue Farms, Koch Foods, etc.
Cash compensation was preferred over coupons which tend to expire with time. Millions of class members will benefit from this settlement and a large chunk shall be notified of the same via email. Previously Mar-Jac, Pilgrim’s, and Tyson had agreed to $93.5 million for settling the claim of institutional and commercial indirect purchasers against chicken price-fixing. The claims made by indirect purchasers suggested that the prices of broiler chickens were fixed by the companies who raised the cost, shared important information amongst each other, and limited production collectively. An indirect purchaser refers to an entity or person who purchased the product or availed of the service from an intermediary source like a wholesaler or retailer rather than the defendant.
Though the current settlement pertains to just six named companies, the Settlement Class comprises of people who bought chicken products from alleged co-conspirators and additional non-settling defendants. Class Members who do not exclude themselves from the settlement can participate in additional settlements which might arise in due course from additional defendants. Consumers are requested to submit a timely claim form within 31st December 2022 for receiving their due from the settlements. This deadline is expected to be extended if additional settlements are reached. Extensions about the deadline shall be intimated on the settlement website. Claimants can automatically participate in future related settlements unless they opt-out from the same. An exclusion request must be mailed by consumers wishing to exclude themselves and received or postmarked within 10th November 2021.
Deadline for Submitting Claim: 12/31/2022
Settlement Pool: $181 million
Case Name: In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 1:16-cv-08637 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Broiler Chicken Consumer Litigation
c/o A.B. Data, Ltd.
P.O. Box 173045
Milwaukee, WI 53217
Shana E. Scarlett
HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP
Brent W. Johnson
COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL, PLLC
Rachel Johanna Adcox
Carmel Rana Arikat
Denise Lynne Plunkett
John M. Tanski
Kail J. Jethmalani
Daniel K. Oakes
Jarod G. Taylor
Kenina J. Lee
Michael J. O’Mara
AXINN, VELTROP & HARDIKER LLP
Jordan Matthew Tank
LIPE LYONS MURPHY NAHRSTADT & PONTIKIS