Federal judge John R. Tunheim of Minnesota has dismissed a class-cation price-fixing lawsuit against the biggest beef packers in the United States.
"Because plaintiffs have not pleaded their direct evidence with sufficient detail and because they have not pleaded parallel conduct sufficient to support an inference of a price-fixing conspiracy, the court will grant defendants' motions to dismiss," Judge Tunheim said in the order.
The ranchers and consumers who brought the case “do little to allege how the individual defendants acted,” instead “arguing that the market did this or that,” Judge Tunheim wrote. That made it impossible to evaluate the “alternative economic explanations” offered by the meatpackers, he said.
The original suit was filed by R-CALF USA and four ranchers in April of 2019 against Tyson Foods, Inc., JBS S.A., National Beef Packing Company, LLC, and Cargill Inc., alleging the companies conspired to depress the price of fed cattle they purchased, thereby inflating their own margins and profits.