Wolf Haldenstein Sues Nationwide Poultry Cartel Over Price Fixing On Behalf Of American Families

Chicago – September 14, 2016 – Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP (“Wolf Haldenstein”) has filed the first antitrust action by consumers against over twenty-five poultry processing and production entities (the “Poultry Cartel”) — comprised of 90% of the poultry industry, including Tyson Poultry, Inc; Koch Foods, Inc.; Perdue Farms Inc. and Pilgrim Pride Corp. — for widespread and collusive price-fixing (“Complaint”).

The Complaint alleges that the Poultry Cartel conspired improperly to raise chicken prices, starting in the early months of the Great Recession in 2008 and continuing through the present, by artificially restricting the industry’s output.  As the Complaint charges, Poultry Cartel members — assisted by Agri Stats, an Eli Lilly & Co. subsidiary — exchanged detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely-guarded non-public information about prices, capacity, sales volume and demand to restrict market availability and raise and fix prices.  The complaint details how the Poultry Cartel allegedly made concerted efforts to take production offline for many months, including by slaughtering broiler breeder hens responsible for supplying the eggs that would become future broiler chickens.  Such efforts are charged with having had a rippling effect on production and availability, thereby driving up prices. As the Complaint alleges, the consequences continue to adversely affect the consumer market, unfairly raising and fixing prices for whole and piece chicken that ordinary Americans rely on as staple protein sources to feed their families, producing huge profits for large corporations and unduly stretching food budgets for families.

The detailed Complaint, Drucker et al. v. Koch Foods, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:16-cv-8874 was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. It joins an earlier case filed on behalf of wholesale purchasers.