DENVER – On June 6, the Department of Justice started its third attempt at prosecuting poultry industry executives for possible price-fixing of the market.

The US District Court in Denver has once again named five former and current executives in the new case including Jayson Penn, former chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.; Bill Lovette, former president and CEO of Pilgrim’s, who was succeeded by Penn; Roger Austin, Pilgrim’s; Mikell Fries, and Scott Brady, both employed at Claxton Poultry.

Ten poultry executives were named in the antitrust lawsuits in the previous cases.

A mistrial was called in the original trial in December 2021 after jurors failed to reach a verdict after four days of deliberations. In late March, the DOJ dropped five executives from the case following a second attempt to find a verdict. 

US District Judge Philip Brimmer will still reside over this latest hearing by the federal government. Even with recent attempts for dismissal, Brimmer has denied those motions by the defendants.

The DOJ is looking at possible broiler price-fixing from 2012 until 2017.

Pilgrim’s, a unit of JBS SA, pleaded guilty in February 2021 to pay a criminal fine of more than $107 million for its role in the conspiracy.