The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal by Arkansas-based O.K. Foods Inc., leaving in place an order that the company must pay $14.5 million to 300 Oklahoma poultry farmers, according to reports.
The poultry farmers, who had contracts to supply O.K. Foods with chickens, claimed that the contracts were anti-competitive and filed a lawsuit in 2002. According to the farmers, O.K. Foods used its power as the only poultry buyer in the area to manipulate lower chicken prices. O.K. Foods' defense said that the farmers failed to prove their claims.
In 2008, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled in favor of the farmers and awarded them $21.1 million. The amount was then lowered to $14.5 million by the judge on the case.
A three-judge panel in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Co., upheld the award in October 2010. The next step will be to consider a formula for distributing the judgment to the growers and to consider the amount of attorney fees.