Tyson Reaches Settlement in Turkey Antitrust Lawsuit

Sandee’s Bakery and Gnemi LLC filed a notice of settlement on Wednesday in the Northern District of Illinois alerting the court that they, on behalf of the indirect purchaser plaintiffs, reached a settlement with the Tyson defendants. This settlement ends Tyson’s attempts to dismiss the claims against it in the antitrust lawsuit regarding turkey.

The settlement includes various Tyson entities, Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Fresh Meats Ing., Tyson Prepared Foods Inc., and the Hillshire Brands Company. These defendants previously claimed that it should not be included in the turkey lawsuit, because it does not sell whole turkeys. The plaintiffs, however, alleged that Tyson still participated in antitrust activity along with other turkey producers.

On April 21, Judge Virginia M. Kendall, who oversees the lawsuit, denied Tyson’s attempts to dismiss the claims against it. The judge’s order noted that in the case of Kraft, which was able to successfully dismiss claims against it and argued it did not produce whole turkey, the plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged anti competitive activity. Kendall determined that Kraft’s situation was different from Tyson’s because Tyson does raise and slaughter turkey, and would benefit from an increased price of turkey.

Wednesday’s notice said that the settlement agreement addresses all of the claims against the Tyson defendants, and that the parties are still working to finalize the settlement terms.  After the terms are finalized, the plaintiffs, on behalf of the institutional indirect purchaser punitive class, will ask the court for approval of the settlement.

Tyson is represented by Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd. and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP. Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative is represented by Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Pearson Simon & Warshaw LLP, and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, and Sandee’s Catering by Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, LLP, Barrett Law Group P.A., Tostrud Law Group P.C., and Clifford Law Offices.