PILGRIM’S PRIDE FINED $110.5 MILLION FOR PRICE FIXING


On October 13, 2020, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (“PPC”) announced that it had entered into a plea agreement with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) with respect to the DOJ’s investigation into the sales of broiler chicken products in the United States.  PPC agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine after striking a plea deal with the DOJ regarding price-fixing allegations that ensnared two former CEOs of the second-largest American producer of chicken.  Under the plea agreement, which is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, PPC will pay a fine of $110.5 million for restraint of competition that affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to one customer in the United States. The agreement does not recommend a monitor, any restitution or probationary period, and provides that the Antitrust Division will bring no further charges against PPC in this matter, provided that the company complies with the terms of the agreement. 

Federal prosecutors expanded their probe with an indictment earlier this month of six chicken-industry executives and managers.  Building on a June indictment, prosecutors said a total of ten people conspired over phone calls and text messages to rig prices paid by quick-serve restaurants between 2012 and 2019.  

Included in the indictment are William Lovette, who stepped down as CEO of PPC in 2019, and Jayson Penn, who succeeded Lovette and was first named in an indictment in June.  Penn left Pilgrim’s last month and has pleaded not guilty.

“We are encouraged that today’s agreement concludes the Antitrust Division’s investigation into Pilgrim’s, providing certainty regarding this matter to our team members, suppliers, customers and shareholders,” said Fabio Sandri, PPC’s CEO.
 

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About David Felderman

David Felderman is a Partner in Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP's Pennsylvania office. Mr. Felderman has extensive experience in complex litigation.Prior to Faruqi & Faruqi, Mr. Felderman was a Partner at Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. (2000-2018) where he handled class action litigation with a focus on antitrust and securities fraud cases. In addition, from 2008 through 2018, he served as the Partner in charge of the day-to-day operations of the firm's Global Portfolio Monitoring Platform where he provided portfolio monitoring services to institutional investors including public pension funds, Taft-Hartley funds, asset managers, and other institutional investors.Throughout his career, Mr. Felderman has participated in litigating numerous securities fraud and antitrust class actions including the following: In re The Bancorp, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14 Civ. 0952 (GMS) (D. Del.); In re Sunoco, Inc., April Term, 2012, No. 3894 (Pa. Common Pleas, Phila. County); In re Harleysville Mutual, November Term, 2011, No. 2137 (Pa. Common Pleas, Phila. County); In re Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. Equity/Debt Securities Litigation, No. 08-cv-5523 (S.D.N.Y.); In re Alltel Shareholder Litigation, Civ. No. 2975-CC (Del. Chancery); In re Converium/SCOR Holding (Switzerland) AG Litigation, No. 04 Civ. 7897 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y.); In re AOL Time Warner Securities Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1500 (S.D.N.Y.); Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. v. Smithkline Beecham Corp., No. 03-cv-04578; In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, No. 04-5184 (D. N.J.); In re Monosodium Glutamate Antitrust Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1328 (D. Minn); and In re Flat Glass Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1200 (W.D. Pa.).Mr. Felderman was also previously associated with McEldrew & Fullam, P.C. (1998-2000) where his practice focused on medical malpractice and product liability litigation. Prior to that, Mr. Felderman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Bernard J. Goodheart in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Professionally, Mr. Felderman served a three-year term (2000-2002) as a member of the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division where he Co-Chaired Legal Line, P.M. for three consecutive years. Under his leadership, Legal Line, P.M. won the National Association of Bar Executives 2001 LEXIS Community and Education Outreach Award. Mr. Felderman also formerly served as a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association's State Civil Committee (1998-1999) and the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association's New Lawyer Section Leadership Council (1998-1999). Additionally, Mr. Felderman currently serves as a member of the Penn Alumni Interview Program where he is responsible for interviewing prospective freshman. Mr. Felderman previously served as a member of the Board Directors of the Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia (2002-2006) where he served as President (2004-2006) and Chair of the Membership Committee (2004-2006). He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Penn's Alumni Class Leadership Council (2003-2008) where he served a two-year term as Chair of the By-Laws Committee (2006-2008). Moreover, Mr. Felderman served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Society of The William Penn Charter School (1998-2001) where he served a one-year term as Secretary (2000-2001). He has also served as a Class Agent since 1998 and served as the Reunion Chair for the Class of 1987's 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th reunions.Mr. Felderman earned his J.D., cum laude, from Temple University, Beasley School of Law (1996). He is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., Economics, 1991).

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