MINNEAPOLIS – A federal judge granted a motion by commercial and institutional buyers (CIIPPs) of Smithfield Foods pork products to approve a proposed settlement of $42 million and provisional certification of the settlement class. Included in the class are foodservice operators who indirectly purchased pork from Smithfield Foods or co-conspirators or their respective subsidiaries or US affiliates for their own business use in commercial food preparation.
“The settlement provides substantial monetary and non-monetary relief to the CIIPP class members that will be valuable in the CIIPPs’ pursuit of their claims against the non-settling Defendants,” the court document stated.
The parties signed the settlement agreement on March 19, 2022, but attorneys for both sides had been negotiating for months.
“Since filing their first complaint, the CIIPPs have coordinated with the other plaintiff groups to pursue discovery and advance this litigation,” according to a motion filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys. “The CIIPPs used materials produced in discovery, including documents that Agri Stats provided to the Department of Justice, to draft the CIIPPs’ Fourth Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint.
“Working with counsel representing the other plaintiff classes, the CIIPPs have collected and analyzed data, hundreds of thousands of documents, and other information relevant to the Defendants and the pork market,” the motion continued. “CIIPP counsel have prepared for and participated in numerous depositions. CIIPPs have also participated in the discovery process by producing thousands of documents in this litigation.”
This settlement is the second in the case. In July of 2021, the company announced it would pay $83 million to settle direct-purchaser claims involving multiple companies. The settlement is not an admission or evidence of wrongdoing by Smithfield or of the truth of any of the plaintiffs’ claims or allegations, according to the court document.