US federal appeals overturns damages award of more than US$25M against Pilgrim's Pride to several dozen contract poultry growers that accused company of violating antitrust law by trying to manipulate poultry prices

LOS ANGELES , August 28, 2013 () – A U.S. federal appeals court overturned a damages award of more than US$25 million against Pilgrim's Pride Corp. to several dozen contract poultry growers that accused the company of violating antitrust law by trying to manipulate poultry prices, Thomson Reuters Corp. reported Aug. 28.

A federal magistrate judge erred in finding that Pilgrim's Pride's decision to idle a chicken processing plant in El Dorado, Arkansas, in May 2009 and end contracts with the growers was motivated by a desire to control prices, an appeals panel ruled.

The closure was "neither illegitimate nor anti-competitive" given that Pilgrim's Pride had been driving down prices by producing too much, and "wisely" decided to stop flooding the market with unprofitable chicken, according to the two-judge panel.

The primary source of this article is Thomson Reuters Corp., London, England, on Aug. 28, 2013.

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