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.

Local News

Woman stabbed Central District...

Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Woman escapes through second-story window after man allegedly stabs her in Central District

A woman escaped through a second-story window after a man allegedly stabbed her on Saturday in the Central District.

20 hours ago

Paraglider Poo Poo Point...

Michael Simeona

Paraglider rescued from tree near Issaquah’s Poo Poo Point

A paraglider was rescued Friday after crashing into a tree near Issaquah's Poo Poo Point. He suffered non-life threatening injuries.

20 hours ago

Tacoma rents increase...

Lauren Donovan, KIRO 7 News

Tenants protest outside city hall as Tacoma rents increase four times faster than Seattle

Experts warn that the affordability gap is narrowing, with Tacoma rents increasing four times faster than those in Seattle.

20 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Redmond mayor axes 600% raises for council members

The mayor of Redmond made a last-minute decision to nullify city council members from a near 600% pay increase.

2 days ago

sea-tac wait times...

Kevin Ko, KIRO 7 News

‘Worse than Disney World’: Sea-Tac wait times go over an hour amid busy Memorial Day travel weekend

Wait times for security checkpoints at Sea-Tac reached 65 to 70 minutes on Friday, as tens of thousands of travelers descended on the airport.

2 days ago

Seattle leaf blowers...

L.B. Gilbert

City of Seattle to phase out gas leaf blowers by 2027

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a resolution directing all city departments to transition to electric leaf blowers no later than 2027.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

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