Those Who Have Bought Chicken in the Last 10 Years Could Be Eligible for Payment

Those who purchased a chicken product in the U.S. from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2020 may be eligible to claim a payment in a $181 million class action lawsuit involving several poultry producers in the country.

According to a legal notice shared on September 10 by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC (the two law firms representing the plaintiffs in the case), a court hearing will be held to decide whether to approve the settlements before any money is paid out.

What Is the Lawsuit About?

The latest legal notice, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, states settlements worth $181 million were reached in "a class action antitrust lawsuit" filed on behalf of the plaintiffs with the defendants.

The defendants involved in the settlements deny all allegations of wrongdoing in this lawsuit.

The official website for the case, which is supervised by the co-lead counsel in the lawsuit, explains the plaintiffs allege the "Defendants and their co-conspirators conspired to restrict the supply of, and fix, raise, and stabilize the price of chicken, as of January 1, 2009, in violation of federal and state consumer and antitrust laws."

Which Companies Are Involved in the Lawsuit?

The "Settling Defendants" in the lawsuit include the following, as outlined in the legal notice:

  • Fieldale Farms Corporation ("Fieldale")
  • George's Inc. and George's Farms, Inc. ("George's")
  • Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC, Mar-Jac Poultry AL, LLC, Mar-Jac AL/MS, Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry, LLC, and Mar-Jac Holdings, Inc. ("Mar Jac")
  • Peco Foods, Inc. ("Peco")
  • Pilgrim's Pride Corporation ("Pilgrim's")
  • Tyson Foods, Inc., Tyson Chicken, Inc., Tyson Breeders, Inc., and Tyson Poultry, Inc. ("Tyson")

The "Unsettled Defendants" in this lawsuit for purposes of the latest notice include the following, as outlined in the legal notice:

  • Agri Stats, Inc. and Claxton Poultry Farms, Inc.
  • Foster Farms, LLC and Foster Poultry Farms
  • Harrison Poultry, Inc. and House of Raeford Farms, Inc.
  • JCG Foods of Alabama, LLC, JCG Foods of Georgia, LLC, Koch Foods, Inc. and Koch Meats Co., Inc.
  • Mountaire Farms, Inc., Mountaire Farms, LLC, and Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc.
  • O.K. Foods, Inc., O.K. Farms, Inc., and O.K. Industries, Inc.
  • Perdue Farms, Inc. and Perdue Foods LLC
  • Sanderson Farms, Inc., Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Foods Division), Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division), and Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Production Division)
  • Wayne Farms, LLC
  • Simmons Foods, Inc. and Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc.

According to the case website, "Non-Settling Defendants" may be subject to separate settlements, judgments, or class certification orders.

A separate notice outlining the progress of the litigation and any resolution of claims against other "Non-Settling Defendants" will be sent to those whom it applies, the case website explains.

Chicken at a California supermarket.
Nutritional information posted beside organic chicken and turkey for sale at a supermarket in Irvine, California in November 2016. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Who Can Make a Claim?

According to the legal notice, those who indirectly bought fresh or frozen raw chicken from the companies involved in the settlement for personal consumption are eligible to file a claim.

The applicable chicken products include whole birds (with or without giblets), whole cut-up birds purchased within a package or "white meat" parts, including breasts and wings or cuts containing a combination of these.

Products for which customers can't make a claim include any chicken marketed as halal, kosher, free range or organic.

Only chicken products purchased in a selection of states, as well as Washington, D.C., within certain time frames between January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2020 can make a claim. See the legal notice for full details on locations and time frames.

Chicken in London, U.K.
Chicken packaged in plastic seen at a supermarket in London, U.K. in April 2018. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

How Do I Make a Claim?

The only way to be eligible to receive a payment from the lawsuit is to submit a claim.

Those who wish to make a claim can do so by providing their details at the case website.

See the legal notice and the case website for more information on other actions those eligible for a claim can take regarding the lawsuit.

A supermarket ad for chicken in California.
A sign advertising chicken at supermarket in Dublin, California in June 2017. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images