A 2011 ruling where poultry processor Pilgrim's was ordered to award about $25 million to several dozen contract growers was overturned in a federal appeals court on August 27. Pilgrim's had been sued by the poultry growers in 2009, with the growers alleging the company violated antitrust laws by trying to manipulate poultry prices.
A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans determined that a federal magistrate judge was wrong to find that Pilgrim's in 2009 closed its chicken processing plant in El Dorado, Ark., and end its relationship with the contract growers in an effort to manipulate the price of chicken. The appeals court ruled that shutting the El Dorado plant, along with other plants in Douglas, Ga., and Farmerville, La., was a necessary move for the company to become economically viable, according to news reports.
Pilgrim's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy around the time of the plant closures, but has since emerged from bankruptcy. The company is now majority-owned by Brazilian meat and poultry processor JBS.