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Egg farms cleared of antitrust charges

eggs in carton
Conduct at Rose Acre, Ohio Fresh Eggs and R.W. Sauder found to be reasonable and did not violate antitrust laws.

Rose Acre Farms, Ohio Fresh Eggs LLC and R.W. Sauder Inc. received a favorable verdict in a major federal antitrust litigation brought by a class of direct purchasers that alleged that the egg producers conspired with others to reduce the supply of eggs in the country. 

The plaintiffs in the case, which included supermarket chains and major retailers like Walmart, along with small restaurants and other businesses, alleged that some of the nation's largest egg producers committed antitrust violations by engaging in a conspiracy to raise shell egg prices by reducing the supply of eggs through the development and implementation of an animal welfare program designed to give caged egg-laying hens more space, among other alleged activities. The class was seeking more than $1 billion in damages, which could have resulted in a $3 billion verdict after trebling.

Ten of the 13 defendants, all members of the United Egg Producers and the U.S. Egg Marketers, chose to settle in recent years for a combined $150 million after reaching agreements with the plaintiffs.

The jury deliberated for more than six days and found that the egg companies' conduct was reasonable and did not, therefore, violate antitrust laws.

The trial, which began May 2, 2018, and lasted 27 trial days, including voir dire and deliberations, was tried before a jury in the court of Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The original case was filed in 2008.

The case was In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:08-md-02002, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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