Thursday, July 1, 2021

JBS pays $83 million settlement

JBS USA has agreed to pay $83 million to settle two class-action lawsuits that claimed the company conspired with other packers to influence prices by limiting pork supply.

The one lawsuit is with direct customers; the other is with indirect customers such as restaurants.

Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s chief administrative officer, said in an e-mailed statement that “While we deny any liability in these cases and believe that our conduct has always been lawful, we decided that it was in the best interests of the company to negotiate a settlement at this time. 

“This settlement eliminates a substantial portion of our exposure in the antitrust litigation for an amount that we believe is in the best interests of our company, as well as our employees, customers and consumers. 

"It significantly reduces the distraction, expense, exposure and inconvenience of protracted litigation, and it allows us to focus on executing the long-term strategy of our business.” 

The lawsuit also includes Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods Corp., Indiana Packers Corp., Seaboard Foods, Triumph Foods and Tyson Foods Inc.

Similar price-fixing charges for poultry are being handled in a Chicago court.