25 July 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Department of Justice on Monday filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Minnesota-based poultry processor Cargill for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, as well as two other poultry processors and a data consulting firm and its president.
The department filed proposed consent decrees with defendants Cargill Inc., Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, Sanderson Farms Inc., Wayne Farms LLC, and Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company and its president, G. Jonathan Meng.
The lawsuit is part of a broader investigation into anti-competitive labor market abuses in the poultry processing industry.
The consent decree with poultry processors Cargill, Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms would prohibit them from sharing competitively sensitive information about poultry processing plant workers’ compensation.
The decree would also allow a court-appointed monitor to ensure their compliance for the next decade and require the companies to pay $84.8 million collectively in restitution for poultry processing plant workers harmed by the conspiracy.
If approved, the decree would ban WMS from providing services that facilitate the sharing of competitively sensitive information.
The department says the decree provisions “would stop the exchange of compensation information” and “prohibit deceptive conduct towards chicken growers that lowers their compensation.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms violated the Packers and Stockyards Act by using deceptive practices to pit chicken growers against each other to determine compensation.
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Author: WCCO Staff