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Plaintiffs Claim Packer Actions Depressed Prices for Margins

R-CALF USA is suing the four largest U.S. meat packers, alleging the firms violated U.S. antitrust laws, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act by unlawfully depressing the prices paid to American ranchers.

Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law along with Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP filed the class action lawsuit in federal district court in Chicago on behalf of R-CALF on Tuesday.

The complaint was filed against Tyson Foods, JBS S.A., Cargill and National Beef Packing Company (and certain affiliates), which collectively purchase and process over 80 percent of U.S. cattle raised specifically for beef production. It alleges that from at least Jan. 1, 2015, through the present, these companies conspired to depress the price of fed cattle they purchased from American ranchers, thereby inflating their own margins and profits.

The class-action lawsuit seeks to recover the losses suffered by cattle producers who sold fed cattle to any one of the four packers from January 2015 to the present and traders who transacted live cattle futures or options contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from January 2015 to the present.

The complaint is based on witness accounts, including a former employee of one of the four packers, trade record