Oklahoma Court Reverses 2010 Verdict Against Tyson Foods

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 5 views 

Tyson chicken growers in McCurtain County, Okla. won’t get the $10 million settlement they had hoped until Tyson Foods gets a new day in court.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 6) issued its opinion in Tyson Foods’ appeal of an April 2010 jury verdict against the company in McCurtain County.

The suit was brought by 54 contract growers who claimed Tyson Foods delivered unhealthy birds in an effort to retaliate against the growers for not spending thousands of dollars to upgrade their chicken houses.

The court reversed the multi-million dollar verdict and ruled that Tyson Foods is entitled to a new trial based on evidentiary errors.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson, released the following statement: “This decision affirms our position that the trial in this case was so improperly conducted that the verdict could not stand. The family farmers who raise our chickens are vital to our business and we want them to be successful. Contrary to the claims made in the case, we abide by the terms of the contracts we have with poultry farmers and we strive to ensure all of them are treated fairly.”

Tyson has contracts with more than 180 poultry farmers in southwest Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma to raise broiler chickens for its Broken Bow operation. More than 50 of them are in McCurtain County.

Mickelson said ,”Our Broken Bow plant and related operations, including a feed mill and hatchery, currently employ more than 1,700 people.”

This story was first reported by our content partner, The City Wire.