$52.5 Million Settlement in Beef Price-Fixing Case

Feb. 2, 2022
JBS USA and others being sued for allegedly fixing beef prices have agreed on a settlement in which they will pay $52.5 million in damages.

JBS USA and others being sued for allegedly fixing beef prices have agreed on a settlement in which they will pay $52.5 million in damages and cooperate against other defendants.

Lawyers for JBS and other defendants notified the Minnesota federal judge hearing the case of the settlement agreement on Feb. 1, according to news service Law360.com. If the judge approves the settlement, the money would be available to compensate direct purchasers of beef from any of the defendants, along with legal fees and expenses.

In addition, JBS would provide information “relevant to the alleged conduct” of other defendants in the case, along with data needed to advertise and administer the settlement, depositions of up to six JBS employees, and other cooperation.

The litigation was brought by a group of ranchers in 2019 and later consolidated with an antitrust suit brought by industry trade groups. The judge rejected a motion to dismiss the suit last September. Other defendants include Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef Packing Co. While the overall antitrust case would continue, the settlement, if accepted by the judge, would mean that the direct buyers in the case would drop their claims against the JBS and the other defendants involved in the settlement.

“We look forward to obtaining court approval of the settlement while we continue to prosecute the case against the remaining nonsettling defendants for the proposed class of direct purchasers whom we represent," lawyers for the plaintiffs said in a statement.

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