Customers across the country who purchased poultry products between 2009 and 2020 could be eligible to receive money as part of a settlement arising from a class-action broiler chicken anti-trust lawsuit.
Those eligible to file a claim to the settlement money include “all persons and entities who indirectly purchased fresh or frozen raw chicken … from Defendants or alleged co-conspirators for personal consumption,” a notice from law firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC stated.
The “persons and entities” should have purchased the products in “California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island (after July 15, 2013), South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin from January 1, 2009 (except for Rhode Island, which is from July 15, 2013), to July 31, 2019, and for Pilgrim’s from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2020.”
The lawsuit in question is, according to the law firms’ notice, Case No. 1:16-cv-08637, is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
In the lawsuit, end-consumer plaintiffs claim that the defendants in this case “conspired to stabilize the price and supply of chicken, as of January 1, 2009, in violation of federal and state consumer and antitrust laws.”
The defendants willing to make the settlement include Fieldale, George’s, Mar-Jac, Peco, Pilgrim’s and Tyson.
Those not willing to make a settlement include “Agri Stats, Inc. and Claxton Poultry Farms, Inc.; Foster Farms, LLC and Foster Poultry Farms; Harrison Poultry, Inc. and House of Raeford Farms, Inc.; JCG Foods of Alabama, LLC, JCG Foods of Georgia, LLC, Koch Foods, Inc. and Koch Meats Co., Inc.; Mountaire Farms, Inc., Mountaire Farms, LLC, and Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc.; O.K. Foods, Inc., O.K. Farms, Inc., and O.K. Industries, Inc.; Perdue Farms, Inc. and Perdue Foods LLC; Sanderson Farms, Inc., Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Foods Division), Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division), and Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Production Division); Wayne Farms, LLC; and Simmons Foods, Inc. and Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc.”
According to the website overchargedforchicken.com, which is maintained by the claims administrator in this case, those eligible for the settlement money can file a claim online. They must do so by Dec. 31, 2022.
Claimants can alternatively mail their forms physically.
“Tyson will pay $99,000,000, Pilgrim’s will pay $75,500,000, George’s will pay $1,900,000, Peco will pay $1,900,000, Fieldale will pay $1,700,000, and Mar-Jac will pay $1,000,000” once and if the settlements are approved, according to a lengthier version of the notice available on overchargedforchicken.com’s website. Those figures add up to $181 million.
Besides filing for a claim, end-consumer plaintiffs can ask to be excluded from the settlements, object to the settlements, attend the fairness hearing or do nothing.
Requesting to be excluded is the “only option that allows you ever to be part of any other lawsuit against Settling Defendants concerning the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreements),” according to the notice.
“Requests for Exclusion must be postmarked or received by November 10, 2021,” the website says.
The final approval hearing for the settlements will take place on Dec. 20.
“Settling Defendants have not admitted any liability and continue to deny all allegations of wrongdoing in this lawsuit and would allege numerous defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims if the case against it were to proceed,” the notice said.
“Non-Settling Defendants may be subject to separate settlements, judgments, or class certification orders. If applicable, you will receive a separate notice regarding the progress of the litigation and any resolution of claims against other Non-Settling Defendants.”
Those who choose to do nothing in response to the settlements “will remain a member of the Settlement Class and will not get a payment from the Settlements. You will also have the opportunity to participate in (or exclude yourself from) any future settlements or judgments obtained by End-User Consumer Plaintiffs.”