Big Chicken settles $35 million lawsuit in fowl price fixing scheme

Apr 5, 2023, 10:24 AM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 11:44 am


Chicken nuggets are visible in the basket of an air fryer in a domestic kitchen, Lafayette, California, July 18, 2022. Photo courtesy Sftm. (Photo by Gado/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gado/Getty Images)

In a lawsuit against 19 chicken producers alleging a massive price-fixing conspiracy, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced 14 manufacturers have paid $35 million to resolve claims against them.

A lawsuit filed in October of 2021 alleged that 19 chicken producers participated in a “sweeping conspiracy” to inflate prices, “rig contract bids,” and manufacture supply shortages.

Tyson Foods to pay WA $10.5M in chicken price-fixing settlement

Ferguson’s allegations date back to 2008, claiming that the companies named in his lawsuit “coordinated to reduce production … resulting in significant production cuts and higher prices.” That effort was said to have been managed “through press releases and investor calls,” as well as at investment bank conferences and trade meetings with senior executives in attendance.

An estimated 90% of Washingtonians buy products derived from the chickens these companies produce.

“If you bought chicken in the last several years, you paid more for that chicken than you should have because of the illegal conduct from these companies,” Ferguson said. “This is yet another milestone in our case against the companies involved in this conspiracy — but we are not done. They drove up the price of chicken and cheated hardworking Washingtonians. Antitrust laws protect consumers when company executives conspire to rig the system. I will hold all of the conspirators accountable.”

Ferguson’s office has already reached a $10.5 million settlement with Tyson Foods, which “does not admit any liability” in the settlement, but instead thought that the payment was “in the best interests of the company and its shareholders” as a way to “avoid the uncertainty, expense, and burden of protracted litigation.”

The 14 companies that paid to resolve the claims are:

  • Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. for $11,000,000;
  • Tyson Foods for $10,500,000;
  • Perdue Farms, Inc. for $6,500,000;
  • Koch Foods Inc. for $1,400,000;
  • Peco Foods, Inc. for $800,000;
  • Mountaire Farms, Inc. for $775,000;
  • George’s, Inc. for $750,000;
  • Mar Jac Poultry for $725,000;
  • Amick Farms, LLC for $600,000;
  • Fieldale Farms Corp. For $475,000;
  • Simmons Foods, Inc. for $425,000;
  • Case Foods, Inc. for $395,000;
  • O.K. Foods, Inc. for $375,000; and
  • Harrison Poultry, Inc. for $290,000.

The remaining five defendants in the lawsuit will face a trial scheduled for October 2024.

  • Foster Farms, LLC;
  • Sanderson Farms, Inc.;
  • Wayne Farms, LLC;
  • House of Raeford Farms, Inc.; and
  • Norman W. Fries, Inc. d/b/a Claxton Poultry Farms, Inc.

Two other states, Alaska and New Mexico, filed similar antitrust cases against national chicken producers.

MyNorthwest News

Image: The Tacoma Police Department released images of a shooting in the parking lot of at the Taco...

Steve Coogan

Gunman nearly hits Tacoma schools security officer during daytime shooting

Police in Tacoma are probing a shooting where a bullet nearly hit hitting a security officer working at the Tacoma Public Schools building.

54 minutes ago

North Seattle shooting...

Luke Duecy

‘Unsettling’: North Seattle shooting wounds 1; neighbors are fed up

Police are investigating an overnight shooting in North Seattle. According to police, one man was shot near N. 90th Street and Nesbit Ave N.

14 hours ago

Seattle Traffic...

Bill Kaczaraba

City of Seattle oversight leads to tens of thousands getting $10 checks

A curious turn of events unfolded in Seattle as over 44,000 car owners and businesses began receiving unexpected $10 checks.

14 hours ago

Image: The sun sets over the University District in Seattle. (File photo: Lindsey Wasson, AP)...

Ted Buehner

Friday sets new record for consecutive 80-degree days in Western Washington

A record-breaking streak of 80 degrees or better in Seattle and much of the Western Washington interior is expected to reach 16 days Friday.

18 hours ago

Image: A Tacoma Police Department vehicle is seen on a street....

Steve Coogan

Human finger found in Tacoma driveway IDed, returned to owner

The case of a mysterious human finger found in a Tacoma driveway earlier this month has been solved and the digit was returned to its owner.

19 hours ago

Biden Las Vegas...


Biden’s campaign says he’s staying in the race, COVID prognosis ‘improving’

President Joe Biden's campaign is once again insisting that he is not stepping aside as he faces the reality many Democrats want him out.

19 hours ago

Big Chicken settles $35 million lawsuit in fowl price fixing scheme