Several major retailers and wholesalers (including Sysco, US Foods, Kroger, Hy-Vee, Albertson, Associated Grocers, Subway, SuperValu, and Cheney Brothers) announced in April 2019 that R-CALF USA and National Farmers recently filed a claim similar to that originally filed by The Union (NFU) has been sued against the Big 4 Packers.

These allegations are that packers’ efforts to collectively control slaughter volumes and beef buying practices have caused the price of beef to rise while the price of beef has fallen.

In response, the U.S. District Court held hearings and before trial decided to coordinate these new claims with lawsuits brought by R-CALF USA and NFU. This has no significant impact on the current case. The court may alter existing timelines to include these new allegations, but as the parties have just begun preparing their documents, fact-finding could resume as early as 2023.

Read: International Protein Trade Newsletter

As a continuing update to the consolidated litigation, the next significant event will be the plaintiffs’ filing for bulk certification, currently scheduled for August 2023. In this motion, R-CALF USA, NFU, and other named cattle feeding plaintiffs allege that from January 1, 2015 through the present, sales of beef cattle to Tyson, National Beef, Cargill, or JBS (cost-plus-basis) ) and anyone who traded live cattle futures or options during that period.

The court appointed Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP and Cafferty Cloves Meriwether & Sprengel LLP as co-lead counsel and Robins Kaplan LLP as liaison counsel to represent the proposed class. If a court grants that motion, anyone who sells cattle to any of the Big 4 or trades live cattle will be allowed to do so without having to file another lawsuit or hire another attorney.

Read: International Protein Trade Newsletter

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