R-CALF Lawsuit to be amended
R-CALF USA’s Bill Bullard confirmed that the class action lawsuit alleging anti-trust activity including price fixing was dismissed by Minnesota federal judge John R. Tunheim last week. The judge provided the plaintiffs 90 days to submit an amended complaint.
Bullard said R-CALF’s attorneys are considered the lead attorneys for the case, and that they will indeed submit an amended complaint within the 90 day time frame.
The suit filed by R-CALF USA, National Farmers Union and four cattlemen had been consolidated with several other suits that also accused the big four meat packers – Cargill, JBS, Marfrig/National Beef and Tyson – of using their market power to artificially depress cattle prices.
While Bullard was unable to provide detail as to the suit dismissal due to the ongoing nature of the lawsuit, some news sources reported that the judge reported that the two main witnesses were not sufficiently detailed as to their relationship to the cattle market, and that their allegations were “mismatched.”
One witness reported being in a conversation with a packer employee about more than one packer reducing slaughter volumes in response to high cattle prices. The other witness reported what he or she described as a “queueing convention” which provided for cash sales to be established by other means than bidding. The “complicated system requiring producers to either agree to a bid or reject it but then requiring the producer to accept only a bid greater than the original price,” the judge’s order said, according to a DTN report.
Fed-cattle prices rose between 2009 and 2014.
Throughout November 2014, the cattle industry was told by a variety of marketing experts that fed-cattle prices would stabilize or keep moving upward in 2015 and remain at the new higher level for several years. Instead, the market crashed and has never recovered to 2014 levels.
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