Jury Hangs Again in Second Chicken Price-Fix Trial

March 30, 2022
A trial of poultry-company executives on charges of price-fixing has ended in a hung jury for the second time.

A trial of poultry-company executives on charges of price-fixing has ended in a hung jury for the second time, with government prosecutors vowing to try again.

The judge in the federal case in Colorado declared a mistrial on March 29 after the jury reported that it was deadlocked. It was the second federal trial in Colorado for executives of poultry processing companies that include Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms. The first one ended in a mistrial last December.

The executives were charged with conspiring to restrain trade by sharing information about their products’ pricing. They included former Pilgrim’s Pride CEOs Jayson Penn and William Lovette, along with eight others.

The defense in the case maintained that the mere fact that the defendants shared information about prices does not prove that they conspired to fix them.

“It is perfectly legal to exchange pricing information, whether past, current or future prices,” one of them said, according to Bloomberg Law. “It’s not illegal to do so.”

After U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer declared the mistrial, a prosecutor informed him that the government intends to try the defendants a third time. Brimmer ordered the head of the antitrust division of the U.S Department of Justice to come to Denver to explain that decision.

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