Tyson Foods is settling an 18-month-old federal lawsuit accusing the meat giant and its competitors of fixing prices for turkey. This week Tyson proposed a settlement offer that requires the company to place $4.62 million in an escrow account within two weeks to end its portion of the lawsuit.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall approved the settlement offer on May 25 as recorded in the Northern District Court of Illinois. Attorneys representing the defendants said they are not planning on distributing the settlement funds to qualified members of the class or seeking attorneys’ fees or expenses.
Plaintiffs referred to as Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs (DPPs) claim Tyson and eight other turkey processors conspired to fix prices between 2010 and 2017. The defendants include Butterball, Cargill, Cooper Farms, Farbest Foods, Foster Farms, Hormel Foods, House of Raeford, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods and its affiliates. Tyson is a small player in the turkey market with roughly 3% of market share between 2010 and 2018. Butterball, Jennie-O-Turkey and Cargill had the three largest shares at 18%, 17% and 14%, respectively.
Tyson Foods told Talk Business & Politics the company does not have a statement about the settlement offer. Tyson is the first defendant to offer a settlement in the suit.
This proposed settlement comes about a month after Judge Kendall ruled against Tyson Foods saying the plaintiffs plausibly argued the company participated in the alleged antitrust scheme. Tyson settled a similar suit earlier this year agreeing to pay $221.5 million to settle chicken price-fixing lawsuits first alleged in 2016.