New Federal Lawsuit Could Crush Tyson Foods


On September 2, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois filled a class action complaint on behalf of plaintiffs Maplevale Farms, Inc. and other similarly situated companies against defendants Tyson Foods and several other animal agriculture companies.

The plaintiffs in this case are the companies that buy so-called broiler chickens from Tyson Foods and other such producers in the United States. The plaintiffs are requesting treble damages (triple the amount of the actual/compensatory damages) under the antitrust laws of the U.S. and a trial by jury.

The plaintiff in the case alleges that in order to increase their prices and profits, Tyson Foods and the other companies “conspired and combined to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of Broilers” dating back to 2008. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges the companies limited production to increase prices, exchanged non-public information, and fraudulently concealed their anticompetitive conduct in this $30 billion per year market. The official complaint further details these practices.

As a result of the defendants’ practices, the plaintiffs allege they were harmed by being forced to pay illegally inflated prices for broilers. If the defendants engaged in collusion, they would have violated federal antitrust laws and will be subject to potentially historic fines that could rival previous multi-billion dollar rulings.

Breaking federal anti-trust laws would fit perfectly in the Tyson Foods portfolio of immorality, cruelty, and law-breaking that includes felony convictions for violating the Clean Water Act, a loss in a U.S. Supreme Court case that showed they failed to pay employees overtime, rampant physical and emotional abuse of their employees, repeated animal welfare violations, and a host of other egregious behaviors by the company.

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