Defendants in Criminal Suit Seek to Dismiss Chicken Antitrust Indictment

On Monday, many of the ten individuals named in the District of Colorado criminal antitrust lawsuit regarding the broiler chicken industry asked the court to dismiss allegations against them, including “the superseding indictment,” and “count one.” in ten separate motions. 

The criminal charges follow a large civil antitrust muti-district litigation matter against chicken processing companies, including the ones that these defendants are associated with. The government previously asked for the Northern District of Illinois consolidated lawsuit to share discovery with it for this case. Many of the defendants in the other lawsuit have reached settlements with the groups of plaintiffs. 

In a majority of Monday’s motions seeking to dismiss the superseding indictment, the defendants argued that the chargers are barred by the statute of limitations, under the Fifth Amendment. They cited that the government claimed their antitrust activities began in 2012, and that the Indictment against the defendants was obtained on October 6, 2020. As the indictment came 8 years after the purported crime, they claimed that due process would require the government to dismiss the case against them. 

Although some of the motions shared different reasons for seeking the dismissal, including insufficient allegations or lack of showing the alleged incidents are related, each asked the court to dismiss the indictment following their argument, some mentioned as an alternative scheduling a hearing to allow them to consider it further. 

Two of the dismissal motions specifically sought to dismiss Count One, and were filed by Jimmie Lee Little and Rickie Blake. They argued that the factual allegations against the defendants were not sufficient and that there is not enough evidence against them of antitrust activity for the allegations to hold. 

The court ordered on Tuesday that the government should file a consolidated response to these motions and other motions to dismiss filed recently before August 30. It also denied the defendants’ request, filed on Monday along with the dismissal motions, for the government to be required to disclose all evidence it plans to use in the trial.