Hillandale Farms and New York Attorney General Letitia James reached a settlement in a lawsuit where James accused Hillandale of gouging the price of eggs during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the agreement, Hillandale will donate 1.2 million eggs to food banks located throughout the state of New York. Those food banks will in turn distribute those eggs to thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
“Hillandale Farms, a family-owned company, is pleased to donate 100,000 dozen eggs to New York food banks as part of a negotiated agreement with the Attorney General of New York. The state’s case against Hillandale has been dismissed with prejudice,” the company said in a statement.
“Although it is important to note that the approach to pricing commodity eggs in New York has remained consistent for decades, the resolution of this matter reflects Hillandale Farms’ deep concern about the communities we serve. We welcomed the opportunity to take steps to benefit New York’s most vulnerable families and support ongoing hunger relief in the state. As we have done for generations, we will continue to focus on producing quality eggs, operating with honesty and integrity, and maintain the highest standards for our team, customers and animals.”
The lawsuit was initially filed by James in the Supreme Court of the State of New York on August 11, 2020. At the time, James alleged Hillandale gouged the prices of more than four million cartons of eggs sold to major grocery store chains, U.S. military facilities and wholesale food distributors throughout the state. James further alleges that Hillandale charged New York customers – many of them with low incomes – up to four times the pre-pandemic price for a carton of eggs.
Hillandale disputed the allegations and explained in a statement that historically, eggs have been subject to volatile prices, noting that egg prices at that time were lower than they were in August 2019, and well below what they were in January-March 2019.
Hillandale Farms was one of several egg producers accused of price gouging amid a sharp demand for eggs during the pandemic. Similar lawsuits were filed against Dakota Layers, Cal-Maine Foods and Dutt & Wagner.
The lawsuit against Cal-Maine Foods, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in April 2020, was dismissed without prejudice in August.
The suit against Dakota Layers and its subsidiary California Farms LLC, was filed in August by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, while the suit against Dutt & Wagner was filed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.