The case, which began in 2008, alleges a near industry-wide, price-fixing conspiracy among egg producers—many of them large corporate entities—to raise the price of shell eggs in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In particular, the plaintiffs contend that the defendants conspired to restrict egg production through a sham animal-welfare program that reduced the laying hen flock sizes, and express agreements to coordinated molting schedules and flock reductions, and an export program that sold eggs at a loss in order to reduce domestic supplies and raise prices. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the conspiracy was coordinated through egg trade associations—the United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers. The Court has certified a class consisting of all direct purchasers of shell eggs from 2004-2008 and has denied summary judgment as to the remaining defendants, permitting the case to proceed to trial.
Commenting on the settlement, attorney for direct purchasers, Michael Hausfeld stated: “Today we achieved a record-breaking settlement in a lengthy battle involving anticompetitive practices in the egg industry that we began over eight years ago. Coordinated industry practices that reduce supply and raise prices, regardless of the industry in which they are employed, cheat purchasers and are inconsistent with the fundamental principles of free trade. The resolution in this case reinforces the dedication of the private bar to ensuring market integrity.”
To date, co-lead counsel have achieved settlements of over $136 million in this case. Hausfeld attorneys working on this matter include: Michael Hausfeld, James Pizzirusso, Brent Landau, and Jeannine Kenney. The three remaining defendants in the lawsuit are: Rose Acre Farms Inc., Ohio Fresh Eggs LLC and R.W. Sauder Inc. Co-lead counsel in addition to Hausfeld are Bernstein Liebhard LLP, Susman Godfrey LLP, and Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Hausfeld is a leading global law firm with offices in Berlin, Boston, Brussels, London, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The firm has a broad range of complex litigation expertise, particularly in antitrust/competition, financial services, sports and entertainment, environmental, mass torts, consumer protection, and human rights matters, often with an international dimension. Hausfeld aims to achieve the best possible results for clients through its practical and commercial approach, avoiding litigation where feasible, yet litigating robustly when necessary. Hausfeld’s extensive experience with alternative and innovative fee models offers clients a diverse menu of engagement options and maximum flexibility in terms of managing their cost exposure. Hausfeld is the only claimant firm to be ranked by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a top tier firm in private enforcement of antitrust/competition law in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
For more information about the firm, including recent trial victories and landmark settlements, please visit: www.hausfeld.com.