Retailers

Target Sues Chicken Suppliers, Alleging Price-Fixing

Retailer joins Chick-fil-A in crying foul over poultry prices
Photograph: Shutterstock

Target Corp. has sued several major poultry suppliers and an Indiana-based data management firm, alleging that the suppliers shared sensitive and nonpublic information and used that data to illegally inflate broiler chicken prices.

Minneapolis-based Target filed suit Dec. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Agri Stats Inc., and 19 other defendants, including Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrim's Pride, Sanderson Farms and Koch Foods. The antitrust complaint seeks a jury trial related to an ongoing lawsuit Target filed in 2016 against the suppliers, which Target alleges coordinated poultry production to raise prices. As reported by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), other retailers, including Aldi, Hy-Vee and convenience-store chain Wawa have signed on to that lawsuit.

Separately on Dec. 4, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A also sued Agri Stats, Tyson and a similar lineup of other poultry suppliers, also in the Illinois District Court. According to that complaint, Chick-fil-A "purchased billions of dollars worth of broiler chicken from defendants and/or their co-conspirators throughout the relevant period at prices that were artificially inflated." Chick-fil-A alleges that after announcing in 2014 that its restaurants would serve antibiotic-free chicken within five years, a number of chicken suppliers named in the suit communicated by phone and text to share confidential bidding and pricing information. 

Hearings have not yet been set in either case. 

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