More than a dozen poultry producers have petitioned the United States Supreme Court to uphold a crucial appellate court decision regarding a Judgment Sharing Agreement (JSA) in the “In Re Broiler Chicken Antitrust” lawsuit. The JSA mandates that each party involved in the case receives a copy of settlements, a provision that has sparked disagreement among the litigants.
The companies, including Case Farms, Foster Farms, Claxton, Harrison Poultry, House of Raeford Farms, Koch, Mar-Jac, Mountaire, Perdue, Wayne Farms, Tyson Foods, Simmons, Sanderson Farms, and Pilgrim’s Pride, have jointly filed a motion opposing the chicken buyers’ plea to have the justices terminate the agreement, as revealed in court filings.
This legal battle stems from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ June decision, which supported a district judge’s ruling from May 2022, affirming that the JSA does not place the plaintiffs at a disadvantage in the ongoing antitrust cases.
The chicken buyers, constituting a class that is suing poultry producers over allegations of anticompetitive practices such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, output restrictions, and the sharing of competitively sensitive information, argue that the JSA unfairly favors the poultry producers. They contend that allowing producers to access information about settlements reached by other defendants could potentially drive down the prices of future settlements.