Darden Restaurants has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Agri Stats Inc. and some of the top poultry companies in the United States, alleging that the companies conspired to increase the cost of chicken sold in the United States.
Poultry companies named in the antitrust lawsuit, filed in the Illinois Northern District Court, include Tyson Foods, Fieldale Farms, Foster Farms, George’s, Harrison Poultry, House of Raeford Farms, JCG Foods, Koch Foods, Mar-Jac Poultry, Mountaire Farms, Claxton Poultry, O.K. Foods, Peco Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Simmons Foods, Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms.
In Darden’s suit, according to the Orlando Sentinel, it accuses the companies of destroying breeder hens and eggs in a coordinated effort to drive down the broiler chicken supply and push up prices. This suit follows a number of previously-filed lawsuits where the defendants make similar claims against the poultry industry’s leading companies, alleging that price increases were a result of industry collusion.
The case number, according to PacerMonitor, is 1:19-cv-00530. Darden Farms is being represented in this litigation by attorney Terence H. Campbell, of the law firm Cotsirilos, Tighe, Streicker & Campbell, Ltd.
Darden Restaurants is the parent company of Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s. According to the company’s website, Darden Restaurants, a publicly traded company, employs about 180,000 people in more than 1,700 restaurants across North America. The company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.
Darden had earlier honored one plaintiff
Darden filed the suit, despite having named one of the plaintiffs – Simmons Foods – as one of six “William B. Darden Distinguished Supplier Award” recipients in 2015.
“Partners like Simmons Foods make it possible for us to support our more than 1,500 restaurants nationwide on a daily basis,” Jim Lawrence, chief supply chain officer for Darden Restaurants, said at the time. “We are thankful for their teamwork and collaboration, and pleased to recognize them in this way.”