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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
Broilers & Layers
on March 19, 2012

Oklahoma Supreme Court grants Tyson Foods new trial

Court overturns $10 million verdict in 2008 broiler farmers case

Oklahoma's Supreme Court has granted Tyson Foods Inc. a new trial in a 2008 broiler farmer case, overturning a $10 million verdict against the company on allegations of juror misconduct and a mistake interpreting the law. 

In 2008, 54 growers sued Tyson, claiming that farmers who didn't want to modernize their equipment were given inferior feed and chicks. They claimed that Tyson had favored growers who got better feed and livestock. In 2010 a jury verdict went in favor of the farmers, 9–3. Tyson claimed on appeal that some of the prospective jurors didn't answer questions fully or truthfully on juror questionnaires and that the trial judge didn't allow oral questions on items covered in the forms filled out by the panelists. They also said that the growers weren't covered by the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act.

"[The Supreme Court's] decision affirms our position that the trial in this case was so improperly conducted that the verdict could not stand," said Tyson. "The family farmers who raise our chickens are vital to our business and we want them to be successful. Contrary to the claims made in the case, we abide by the terms of the contracts we have with poultry farmers and we strive to ensure all of them are treated fairly."

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