Grocers’ suit against Tyson Foods is dismissed

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 664 views 

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin has dismissed claims against Tyson Foods brought by grocery chains including Kroger, Albertsons, Meijer, and Publix. The dismissal was requested by all parties involved. Walmart was not part of the plaintiff class action litigation.

Judge Durkins, with the Northern District of Illinois, on Oct. 18 dismissed claims tied to the collusion and price-fixing actions of the poultry industry to drive up chicken prices for its customers. The court documents stated the plaintiffs and Tyson Foods stipulated and agreed to the dismissal. The dismissal of this case has no bearing on the plaintiffs claims against other poultry companies, the document said.

Tyson Foods previously reached settlements in litigation surrounding the accusations of price-fixing, but the Springdale-based meat giant admitted no wrongdoing, but opted to settle to stop the distractions and get on with their business.

Tyson agreed in January to pay $221.5 million to settle all class-action claims related to the price collusion charges. The litigation was in the courts four years before culminating in the federal antitrust civil suit that involved multiple companies including Pilgrim’s Pride and Springdale-based George’s Inc. Those companies were sued by their customers such as Chick-fil-A, Walmart and Kroger alleging conspiracy to inflate chicken prices by working together to restrict production from 2008 through 2016.

Then Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith said early in the case the company would fight the charges. But as the investigation continued Tyson self-reported improprieties within its organization, noting the instigators were no longer employed by Tyson. The U.S. Justice Department said Tyson Foods would receive leniency accommodations for the self-report.

Former Tyson Foods employee, Timothy Mulreinin, was one of 10 poultry executives indicted on federal antitrust charges last October. Pilgrim’s Pride, who had two top executives indicted in the suit, settled its claims for $75 million a year ago.

Tyson also agreed in July to set aside $4.62 million to settle claims of conspiring to inflate turkey prices. More recently there are several class-action suits brewing against Tyson Foods from investors who lost money relating to the collusion and price fixing conspiracy among poultry processors.