Tyson Foods Inc. has said it will appeal a $7.3M verdict awarded to seven of its former contract poultry growers in a lawsuit in Oklahoma, according to Tulsa World. The growers alleged in McCurtain County District Court that Tyson unfairly supplied them with poor-quality chickens and feed while providing superior stock to other growers.
The award included $4.8M in actual damages and $2.5M in punitive damages. The suit was originally filed in May 2008 with 60 plaintiffs, but they were divided into smaller groups so the court could more easily manage the cases. A trial with another group of plaintiffs is set to start in May.
“We are extremely disappointed with the jury’s decision, but given the manner in which this trial was conducted, we are not surprised the jury reached a runaway verdict,” Tyson Foods said in a news release.