Farmers' lawsuit against Pilgrim's goes to court

AP News
Posted: Jun 16, 2011 4:02 AM
Farmers' lawsuit against Pilgrim's goes to court

A federal trial is starting in East Texas over claims that Pilgrim's Pride closed two plants where it had a monopoly in order to boost chicken prices.

The trial scheduled to open in Marshall on Thursday centers on a lawsuit filed by chicken farmers in four states. The suit says Pilgrim's Pride violated federal and state laws by manipulating the price of commodity chicken when it shut down the Arkansas and Louisiana processing plants.

Pilgrim's Pride has said it closed those plants and others during bankruptcy reorganization to save costs.

It emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2009, a year after the filing. It then sold a majority stake to Brazilian beef giant JBS.

The company's headquarters moved from Pittsburg in East Texas to Greeley, Colo.