JBS SA’s $13 Million Settlement Approved in Pork Antitrust Case


·         Second of three JBS agreements gets nod from federal judge

·         Third, with consumers, brings total to $57 million if approved


Mike Leonard, Bloomberg Law 

Nov. 19, 2021


JBS SA crept closer to exiting antitrust litigation over an alleged industrywide scheme to fix pork prices, when a federal judge in Minneapolis approved the second of its three class action settlements, a $12.75 million deal with restaurants and retailers.


Judge John R. Tunheim signed off on the agreement late Thursday, about five months after giving his blessing to a $24.5 million settlement between the Brazilian meatpacking giant and wholesalers bringing parallel claims in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. He also awarded $3.9 million in legal fees to counsel for the “commercial and institutional indirect purchasers.”


In approving the deal, Tunheim “considered the complexity, expense, and likely duration of the litigation,” among other factors, he wrote. “The settlement was attained following an extensive investigation of the facts. It resulted from vigorous arm’s-length negotiations, which were undertaken in good faith by counsel with significant experience litigating antitrust class actions.”


The judge previously gave his preliminary approval to a third JBS settlement—a $20 million deal with consumers—which, if it becomes final, would complete the company’s exit from the sprawling case. He has also signed off tentatively on an $83 million agreement between wholesalers and Smithfield Foods Inc.


The consolidated lawsuit—which includes a trio of class actions and individual suits by wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants—is part of a wave of cartel litigation involving livestock and protein, including chicken, beef, turkey, tuna, salmon, and eggs. The poultry and tuna industries have been particularly hard hit so far, with executives from both sectors facing—or serving—prison time.


Like most of the other cases, the pork suit accuses the meatpackers of laundering secret information through farm sector databases published by Agri Stats Inc., which is also named as a defendant...


more, including link to court documents