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Agricultural News

Beef Packers Respond to Antitrust Lawsuit Being Brought By R-Calf USA

Tue, 24 Sep 2019 06:08:09 CDT

Beef Packers Respond to Antitrust Lawsuit Being Brought By R-Calf USA The four major Beef Packers being sued for price collusion have filed a motion to dismiss the class action anti-trust case alleging they colluded to lower prices from Jan. 1, 2015 through the present in federal court in Minneapolis.

In the introduction of the brief- the Packers' legal team write "Common sense - and economic theory - dictate that commodity prices follow the
law of supply and demand. So when fed cattle prices hit a historic peak in late 2014, driven in large part by reduced supply (caused by a significant drought), the market responded as expected. Producers increased the supply of fed cattle, and fed cattle prices fell accordingly.

Plaintiffs, producers who raise fed cattle and an organization that represents them, refuse to accept that ordinary market forces responded to correct an extraordinary market situation. Instead, Plaintiffs dream up an elaborate scheme in which Defendants purportedly agreed to suppress cattle prices in response to the historically high prices.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants colluded in five ways: reducing slaughter volumes; curtailing fed cattle purchases in the cash market; coordinating procurement practices; uneconomically importing fed cattle; and reducing slaughter capacity."

The brief says of the lawsuit "Plaintiffs do not come close to alleging the facts necessary to support their claim of a massive conspiracy in the beef industry. They do not provide any plausible direct
evidence of a conspiracy; they do not sufficiently allege parallel conduct; and they do not plead additional facts suggesting that any Defendant’s conduct was due to a conspiracy.

"And because all of Plaintiffs’ claims depend on the claimed conspiracy, they all fail as a matter of law."

You can read the complete document by clicking on the PDF link below.



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