Koch will resolve claims that it violated antitrust laws for reducing the price paid to broiler chicken growers with a $15.5 million settlement. This will benefit companies or consumers who received payment for broiler chicken grow-out services between 27th January 2013 and 31st December 2019 from Koch, other antitrust defendants, and/or alleged co-conspirators. Defendants comprise Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Foods, Koch, and Sanderson Farms. The alleged co-conspirators are Agri Stats, Foster Farms, Mountaire Farms, Wayne Farms, George’s, Peco Foods, House of Raeford Farms, Simmons Foods, Keystone Foods Fieldale Farms, O.K. Industries, Case Foods, Marshall Durbin Companies, Amick Farms, Mar-Jac Poultry, Harrison Poultry, Claxton Poultry Farms and Norman W. Fries.
Settlement Website: BroilerGrowersAntitrustSettlement.com
Objection Deadline: 09/23/2022
Exclusion Deadline: 09/23/2022
Claim Form: https://angeion-public.s3.amazonaws.com/www.BroilerGrowersAntitrustSettlement.com/docs/koch-settlement/Chicken+Growers+Koch+Settlement+Claim+Form.pdf
Deadline For Submitting Claim Form: 02/06/2023
Final Hearing Date: 10/28/2022
Settlement Amount: $15.5million
Potential Claim Amount: Variable
Proof Of Purchase: In the case of unpopulated claim form, class members will have to provide documentation like settlement sheets for the Broiler flocks raised by them or yearend accounting statements provided to class members by their Integrator.
As per the 2021 consolidated class action lawsuit, both defendants and alleged co-conspirators worked together for reducing the amount paid to chicken growers for broiler grow-out services. These services include raising chicken for larger distributors for being sold as broiler chickens in various grocery stores. Farmers can raise their chickens and sell them to bigger companies like Kock or Tyson for processing.
According to the multidistrict litigation surrounding broiler grow-out services, the defendants illegally worked together to pay farmers a universally less rate for broiler grow-out services. This antitrust agreement between the companies denied both farmers and other chicken growers the payments they would have received for the broiler grow-out services had there been fair competition in the market.
The antitrust class action lawsuit has further explained that under the scheme, the cartel members illegally shared detailed data on grower compensation with each other. This was done with the purpose and effect of artificially lowering grower compensation below competitive levels. The defendants and co-conspirators disclosed highly confidential and sensitive rates to each other for suppressing competition for broiler grow-out services and driving down compensation to all growers.
Koch has agreed to resolve all claims brought against them with a $15.5 million settlement despite not admitting any wrongdoing. Various other chicken processors including Tyson resolved similar allegations last year by paying a combined $181 million to class members. As per the settlement terms, class members are eligible to collect cash payments depending on the total payments received by them from Koch, other defendants, and co-conspirators. Each payment will be a proportional share of the settlement corpus. Thus, class members who received a larger share of the total payments included in the settlement will get a larger share of the settlement fund.
Class members will be required to submit claim forms only under certain circumstances to receive payment from the settlement. The class growers receiving a pre-populated claim form aren’t required to do anything to get the payment. However, if class members believe their pre-populated form needs correction, they may dispute their projected settlement payments by submitting a corrected claim form within 6th February 2023.