If You Were Paid to Provide Broiler Grow-Out Services At Any Time Between January 27, 2013 and December 31, 2019, A Class Action Settlement Totaling $15,500,000 May Affect Your Legal Rights.
September 23, 2022 — Objections to the Settlement and/or to Class Counsel’s Request for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs and Incentive Awards Must Be Postmarked By This Date
September 23, 2022 — Requests for Exclusion From the Settlement Must Be Postmarked By This Date
October 28, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. — Fairness Hearing
February 6, 2023 — Claim Forms Must Be Submitted Online By This Date or Postmarked By This Date if Submitted By Mail
- A class action lawsuit has been filed against companies that contract with Broiler chicken growers to provide Broiler1 Grow-Out Services,2 alleging that Defendants3 and certain other companies (known as Alleged Co-Conspirators)4 unlawfully conspired to artificially reduce the amount the Defendants and Alleged Co-Conspirators paid to Broiler chicken growers for Broiler Grow-Out Services in violation of the federal antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act (“PSA”). Broiler Grow-Out Services refers to arrangements in which Broiler chicken growers grow young chickens until the birds reach slaughtering age, under contract with companies that supply the young birds, commonly referred to as “Integrators.”
- Defendants Koch Foods, Inc. and Koch Meat Co., Inc. (doing business as Koch Poultry Co.) (together “Koch”) have agreed to pay $15.5 million into a Settlement Fund to settle the class action antitrust and PSA claims against them and to provide certain cooperation to Plaintiffs in this litigation against the remaining Defendants (the “Koch Settlement”). In addition, Koch has agreed to certain restrictions on its ability to enforce arbitration provisions against broiler chicken growers and on its ability to enforce provisions restricting collective or class actions brought by Broiler chicken growers against Koch. Koch Settlement § 10.e.. Koch denies that it did anything wrong and has asserted defenses to the claims against it.
- The “Settlement Class” for the Koch Settlement is defined as all individuals and entities in the United States and its territories that were paid to provide Broiler Grow-Out Services by any Defendant or any Alleged Co-Conspirator, or by a division, subsidiary, predecessor, or Affiliate of a Defendant or Alleged Co-Conspirator, at any time between January 27, 2013, through December 31, 2019 (the “Class Period”).
- The Court in charge of the lawsuit will decide whether to finally approve the Koch Settlement. If approved by the Court, the Koch Settlement will resolve all of the Settlement Class members’ claims against Koch and release Koch and their affiliates from all liability for the claims alleged against them in the lawsuit, including related claims or claims referred to in the lawsuit. All the claims against the non-settling Defendants in the lawsuit will continue.
|SUMMARY OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS||DEADLINE|
RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC PAYMENT
If you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement with a Pre-Populated Claim Form that contains information about the amount you were paid by Defendants and/or Alleged Co-Conspirators for Broiler Grow-Out Services during the Class Period (“pre-populated payment information”), you will receive a payment from the Settlement Fund automatically and you do not need to submit the attached Claim Form or do anything else to receive a Settlement payment.
If you disagree with the pre-populated payment information in the Pre-Populated Claim Form and wish to challenge or correct it, you have the right to submit a Claim Form with corrected information postmarked by February 6, 2023. For more information, see Question 9.
If you do not submit an updated Claim Form with corrected information postmarked by February 6, 2023, the pre-populated payment will be deemed accepted and you will be compensated based on that information.
By receiving a payment, you give up the right to sue Koch in a separate lawsuit related to the legal claims this Settlement resolves. Please see Question 16, which describes the release of claims in this action.
|February 6, 2023 (to dispute Pre-Populated payment information)|
If you are a Settlement Class member and received an Unpopulated Claim Form without pre-populated payment information, you must complete and submit an Unpopulated Claim Form and either (a) include supporting documentation concerning the amount you were paid for Broiler Grow-Out Services by Defendants and Alleged Co-Conspirators, or (b) answer a series of questions on the Unpopulated Claim Form, by which a reasonable estimate of the amount you were paid can be determined, by February 6, 2023 if you wish to receive a payment from the Settlement Fund. For more information, see Question 9.
If you are a Settlement Class member and received an Unpopulated Claim Form, you will give up the right to sue Koch in a separate lawsuit about the legal claims this Settlement resolves regardless of whether you complete the Unpopulated Claim Form and submit it, unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
If you are a Settlement Class Member and received an Unpopulated Claim form and did not receive a Pre-Populated Claim Form with pre-populated payment information, completing and submitting the Unpopulated Claim Form is the only way to receive a payment from the Settlement. Please see Question 16, which describes the release of claims in this action.
|February 6, 2023|
|EXCLUDE YOURSELF||You may submit a written request to exclude yourself from the Koch Settlement. If you do so, you will not participate in the Settlement or get any monetary compensation from the Settlement Fund. You will keep any rights you currently have to separately sue Koch related to the legal claims this Settlement resolves, but you must retain your own lawyer at your own expense if you wish to have legal representation to do so, Settlement Class Counsel (defined infra) represent the Settlement Class but do not represent excluded parties. For more information, see Question 17.||September 23, 2022|
|OBJECT AND/OR ATTEND A HEARING||If you do not exclude yourself from the Koch Settlement, you still have the right to file a written objection to the Koch Settlement or anything else referenced in the Notice, to attend the Final Approval Hearing, and to request to be heard at the Final Approval Hearing. You may also retain a lawyer at your own expense to assist you in doing so, although it is not necessary to hire a lawyer in order to object or attend the hearing. See Question 14. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the hearing may occur virtually or in person at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, located at 101 N 5th St, Muskogee, OK 74401. Please monitor this website for updates on the Final Approval Hearing date and location. For more information, see Questions 18, 21-23.||September 23, 2022|
Please note, all information you provide in connection with receiving an automatic payment or submitting a claim form in this action will be maintained as strictly confidential and will not be made available publicly or to any Defendant or Alleged Co-conspirator. Only Settlement Class Counsel, the Court, and the Settlement Administrator will have access to any information you provide, including Your identity, in connection with receiving an automatic payment or submitting a claim form in this action. The only way your identity will become public is if you exclude yourself from the Settlement or file an objection to the Settlement.
1 “Broilers” excludes specialty chicken that is grown, processed, and sold according to halal, kosher, free range, pasture-raised, or organic standards. Specialty chicken does not include chicken raised without antibiotics, such as No Antibiotics Ever (“NAE”) or Antibiotic Free (“ABF”) standards. “Broilers” as used herein includes NAE and ABF chicken. See Settlement Agreements § 1(d).
2 “Broiler Grow-Out Services” means Broiler chicken growing services.
3 Defendants are Tyson Foods, Inc.; Tyson Chicken Inc.; Tyson Breeders, Inc.; Tyson Poultry, Inc.; Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation; Perdue Foods, LLC; Koch Foods, Inc.; Koch Meat Co. Inc. d/b/a Koch Poultry Co.; Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Food Division); Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division); and Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Production Division).
4 Alleged Co-Conspirators for purposes of the Settlements are Foster Farms, Mountaire Farms, Wayne Farms, George’s, Inc., Peco Foods, Inc., House of Raeford Farms, Simmons Foods, Keystone Foods, Fieldale Farms Corp., O.K. Industries, Case Foods, Marshall Durbin Companies, Amick Farms, Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., Harrison Poultry, Inc., Claxton Poultry Farms, Norman W. Fries, Inc., and Agri Stats, Inc.