Court Dismisses Class-Action Securities Lawsuit Against Pilgrim’s Pride

On Monday, a District of Colorado final judgement ruled in favor of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation dismissing securities allegations against the company in a putative class-action lawsuit filed by Patrick Hogan. This ruling dismisses the second amended complaint in the matter and ends the plaintiffs’ attempts to hold the company accountable for reduced value in securities due to antitrust allegations. 

According to the amended final judgement, claims which were barred by the statute of repose were dismissed with prejudice, while claims from the plaintiff which were barred based on a lack of standing were dismissed without prejudice, but were “effectively dismissed with prejudice” unless the plaintiff can prove he purchased stock in Pilgrim’s Pride during the required time period. 

The Order, which was signed by Judge R. Brooke Jackson on Friday, explained that Hogan purchased stock in January and February 2015, however, acts before June 8, 2015, were determined to be time-barred by the court. The plaintiff reportedly did not purchase or sell any stock in Pilgrim’s Pride between June 8, 2015 and June 8, 2020, but simply held the stock. According to the order, individuals who held stock cannot bring claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act “because the claims would be entirely rooted in speculation, rather than having real, discernible damages amounts.” 

In the filing, the judge related that Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the largest producers of broiler chicken, holding about 16.6% of the domestic market. Pilgrim’s Pride, along with other chicken companies, has been involved in a criminal lawsuit and a consolidated class-action civil lawsuit regarding the same purported antitrust activities. A separate securities lawsuit against the company filed by trustees and pension organizations is still being heard in the District of Colorado. 

Hogan is represented by Pomerantz LLP and Jeffrey M. Villanueva. Pilgrim’s Pride and individuals associated with it are represented by Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.