Lawsuits alleging the United States’ top poultry companies colluded in an effort to raise the price of chicken continue to be filed, and at the same time, I continue to shake my head.
The most recent lawsuit was filed by legal firm Arentz Law on behalf of plaintiff B.J.’s Wholesale Club.
WATTAgNet bloggers, including me, have written about these lawsuits before. The earlier blogs pointed out how those who file lawsuits seem to ignore basic economics and the price of feed, as well as how the poultry industry and those who support it should quit shopping at stores that take part in these lawsuits.
And while those previously mentioned topics still bother me, there’s one other thing that bothers me. Why are these law firms filing such suits so shameless?
Ethics and the law profession
Arentz Law is all too proud to promote itself as this B.J.’s Wholesale litigation, which like all the others before it seems frivolous, plays itself out. The law firm has a “news” page on its website, in which it explains why in its opinion the top poultry companies and Agri-Stats colluded to raise the price of chicken.
In relation to another similar lawsuit filed in 2016, law firm Hagens Berman issued a press release to promote its work on the suit.
In each press release, the law firms seem to shamelessly have one ambition in mind: to drum up more business.
This is disappointing, and also makes it evident why lawyers are more often than not, looked down upon.
It makes me think of a time when I was in my 20s and on a volunteer committee to produce a local rodeo where all the proceeds go back to community projects and causes. I met with businesses about buying ads in our program book. One of those visits was made to a man named Eldon, who had a law practice next door to the building where I worked at the time.
Eldon, a World War II veteran who started practicing law not long after his stint in the military was over, was a throwback to the old days of practicing law. He was already past traditional retirement age, but continued to work in the profession he loved. When in his office, he told me that when he started practicing law, it wasn’t considered ethical for lawyers to advertise. He still felt firm in those beliefs, he said. But, knowing the rodeo was a good event and its proceeds would go to good causes, he told me instead of advertising, he would make a donation. He got out his checkbook with nothing expected in return.
I think we could use a few more Eldons today and a lot fewer lawyers who file these frivolous suits.
Arentz Law shows ignorance of poultry industry
The fact that Arentz Law put a news release about the B.J.’s Wholesale lawsuit on its website is one thing, but the fact that it displayed a photo to illustrate the defendant companies that looks nothing like modern broiler production is quite another.
Rather than show what a traditional broiler farm of the 21st century looks like, the law firm used a photo of a dozen or so chickens of mixed colors and breeds that clearly aren’t the breeds used by any of the companies they are targeting. They are perched on an old wooden wheelbarrow, which you will not find in use on any farm today, but rather at an antique store or on a front lawn for decorative purposes.
This photo, to anyone in modern poultry production, shows that the law firm is completely uninformed about the industry. Which leads me to think this: If these lawyers don’t know what a modern poultry farm looks like, how in the world would they really know how a modern poultry company conducts business?
The answer appears pretty apparent: They don’t.