Costco Wholesale Corporation filed suit against major poultry producers last Friday, joining a massive, multidistrict litigation over an alleged scheme to fix chicken prices.
Costco, along with other major corporations such as McDonalds, Chick-fil-A and Target, claim that poultry producers illegally restrained trade in the chicken industry to fix prices from at least 2008 to 2019.
“Defendants’ restraint of trade was multi-faceted and involved many overt acts. They focused on the distribution chain by reducing the supply of broiler chickens into the market,” court documents state. “They also rigged bids on broiler chicken sales. They also focused on the end of the distribution chain by manipulating both individual customer price matrixes as well as an industry price index–specifically, the Georgia Dock price index–with respect to the prices of chicken they sold to purchasers such as Plaintiffs.”
Defendants named in the Costco suit include Koch Foods, OK Foods Inc. and Sanderson Farms.
Some of the defendants in the consolidated class action suit have already reached agreements, such as the $155 million settlement with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc. that was approved in June.
Costco is represented by Cotsirilos, Tighe, Streicker, Poulos & Campbell Ltd.; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP; and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.