MINNEAPOLIS — A class action antitrust lawsuit notice was recently released by the US District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of commercial and institutional indirect purchaser plaintiffs over pork products purchased for business use in commercial food preparation.

In the previous lawsuit information, plaintiffs were looking for businesses that purchased uncooked pork bacon, fresh or frozen loins, shoulder ribs, hams, or pork chops from June 28, 2014, to June 30, 2018, as part of the damages class.

The notice named Clemens Food Group LLC, Hormel Foods Corp., Seaboard Foods LLC, Triumph Foods LLC, Tyson Foods Inc. and Agri Stats Inc., as defendants.

The court documents alleged that defendants and others conspired to increase the prices of pork products around the country, in violation of federal antitrust laws and various state antitrust, consumer protection, unfair trade practices and unjust enrichment laws. Throughout this case, the defendants continue to deny all allegations of wrongdoing.

Under this notice, the injunctive class excludes products marketed as organic and/or no antibiotics ever and any product other than bacon that is marinated, seasoned, flavored, or breaded, but it includes uncooked and cooked ham water added products.

Class members from certain states remain eligible to recover settlement money including Arkansas, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah Vermont, West Virginia and/or Wisconsin. The class period for Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee class members beings June 28, 2015.  

If plaintiffs wish to be excluded from this particular lawsuit and wish to pursue a separate case, they must make an exclusion request by Aug. 23, 2024. 

In the last few years, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods, other large pork processing companies in the United States, have reached settlements on other direct-purchaser pork pricing cases. In 2022, JBS USA reached a $20 million settlement, and Smithfield reached an $83 million settlement. The next year, Smithfield agreed to a $75 million settlement. 

Seaboard agreed to a $9.75 million settlement with a class of direct purchasers in June 2023.

During March 2023, a Minnesota judge granted a motion for three groups of class certification.