Eggs

News 1035 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Cal-Maine Foods settles egg antitrust class action claims

US egg producer Cal-Maine Foods has reached an agreement in principle to settle all direct purchaser class claims against the company.

Pursuant to the agreement, reached in the In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation matter pending in Pennsylvania federal court, Cal-Maine will settle all direct purchaser class claims with a single $28 million payment.

“We remain confident that our conduct has at all times been lawful, appropriate and fair to our customers. The largest retailers and egg buyers in the country, including many of our customers, in fact, were fully aware of, and explicitly supported, the industry-wide animal welfare guidelines challenged in this litigation. And, the USDA was fully aware of, and explicitly supported, these animal welfare guidelines as well as all the other conduct the plaintiffs challenged,” said Dolph Baker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cal-Maine Foods.

“We were able to negotiate a settlement which would eliminate most of our exposure in the antitrust litigation against the Company for an amount that we believe is in the best interest of the shareholders, employees, customers and consumers. It significantly reduces the distraction, expense, exposure and inconvenience of protracted litigation and potentially multiple appeals, and allows us to focus on executing the long-term strategy of our business.”

The terms of the settlement must be formally documented and are subject to approval by the court following notice to all class members. The plaintiffs in the non-class cases that direct purchasers have filed against the Company may elect to participate in the settlement or to opt out and pursue their individual claims. The settlement does not affect the class actions filed on behalf of indirect purchasers. These non-class cases and the indirect purchaser class actions also allege that the company and certain other large domestic egg producers conspired to reduce the domestic supply of eggs in an effort to raise egg prices. Cal-Maine intends to continue to vigorously defend the remaining cases and believes it has strong defenses.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs, including conventional, cage-free, organic and nutritionally-enhanced eggs. The Company, which is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States and sells the majority of its shell eggs in approximately 29 states across the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

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