Mayer Brown obtained an important victory for poultry company Foster Farms when an Illinois federal judge on June 30, 2023, granted summary judgment in favor of Foster Farms and five other poultry companies in the Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation.
This is a major industry-wide antitrust litigation pending for nearly seven years brought on behalf of three nationwide classes of purchasers of “broiler chicken” and more than 50 “opt-out” or “direct action” plaintiffs against 20 defendants. The plaintiffs alleged, among other things, a conspiracy among the poultry companies to reduce the supply of broiler chickens in order to increase chicken prices. Plaintiffs alleged more than $1 billion in damages against Foster Farms alone.
The litigation involved years of discovery, including hundreds of depositions and millions of pages of document discovery, as well as related criminal cases brought by the US Department of Justice. Ultimately, the court found that plaintiffs had no evidence that Foster Farms had entered any agreement to suppress the supply of chicken in the market, and that no defendant agreed to fix the government price index at issue. Other producers remain in the litigation as their summary judgment motions were denied.
The Mayer Brown litigation team was led by partner Carmine Zarlenga and included partners William Stallings and Oral Pottinger and associates Katherine Bleicher, Ankur Mandhania and Tara More.
“I am extraordinarily thankful for the willingness and courage of Foster Farms and its General Counsel Randy Boyce to allow us to fight this litigation aggressively all along the way, and that we did, culminating in a decisive summary judgment ruling in favor of Foster Farms,” said Carmine.