Appeals Court Lets IBP Suit Stand
The Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to review an
appeal of a ruling against the nation’s largest meat packer, IBP Inc., that granted the lawsuit class-action status.
The 11th Circuit Court did not release a written decision Friday explaining the ruling. But pending dismissal motions filed by IBP, the class-action status of a suit by cattlemen who sold cattle to IBP since February 1994 will stand.
As many as 30,000 cattlemen from across the country could join in the suit against IBP, which was acquired by poultry giant Tyson Foods Inc. in September.
The suit, originally filed by 10 cattlemen in 1996, claims IBP illegally cornered the beef market and conspired to fix prices paid on the open market. The cattlemen claim IBP violated antitrust laws by buying mostly packer-owned cattle and cattle committed to packers under long-term contracts – rather
than bidding on auction markets – to unfairly depress prices paid to producers.
“We do not know the logic behind the court’s decision, however, we can tell you it only involves a question of procedure on class certification and has nothing to do with the validity of the claims made against our company,” Tyson said Friday in a statement. “Numerous studies have proven changes in
cattle prices are due to basic supply and demand, not the consolidation of the packing industry or the use of livestock marketing arrangements.” Tyson didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking further comment. A trial date in federal court in Montgomery, Ala., hasn’t been set. AP-NY-03-08-02 2016EST
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.