June 2010

Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and two of its subsidiaries, Moark, LLC and Norco Ranch, Inc., have agreed to pay $25 million to settle antitrust claims brought on behalf of direct purchasers of shell eggs and egg products. Bernstein Liebhard, along with co-counsel, represent the plaintiffs in the case, captioned In re: Processed Eggs Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-md-02002 (E.D. Pa.).  The action was filed in 2008 against sixteen trade groups and producers alleging an industry-wide, price-fixing conspiracy that raised the price of shell eggs and egg products in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  Plaintiffs allege that that the defendants (egg producers and trade groups) conspired to restrict egg supply through cage space requirements, as well as coordinated molting schedules and hen reductions, and exported eggs at a loss in order to reduce domestic supplies and raise prices.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the settling defendants have agreed to provide information and documents concerning meetings and discussions with the remaining defendants regarding price-fixing efforts.  The remaining defendants in the action include Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Michael Foods, Inc., Rose Acre Farms, Inc., Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC, Hillandale Farms Inc. (comprised of Hillandale Farms of Pa., Inc., Hillandale-Gettysburg, L.P., Hillandale Farms East, Inc., and Hillandale Farms, Inc.), Daybreak Foods, Inc., as well as trade groups United Egg Producers, United States Egg Marketers, and United Egg Association.

The $25 million partial settlement was submitted to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for preliminary approval on June 4, 2010.  It is the first settlement in the case providing monetary compensation to class members.

For more information, contact Dana S. Smith, Esq. at dsmith@bernlieb.com or (877) 779-1414.