Judge takes another step to settle Hormel pork case

 Judge takes another step to settle Hormel pork case

MINNEAPOLIS — On May 6, a federal judge confirmed two orders to preliminarily settle cases that allege Hormel Foods Corp. illegally restricted the supply of pork products in an effort to fix consumer prices for pork.

Judge John R. Tunheim of the US District Court of Minnesota proposed a $2.4 million settlement for commercial indirect purchaser class which was first proposed last month and $4.8 million to direct pork purchasers. 

The price-fixing litigations, which date back to 2018, were officially consolidated and transferred to Judge Tunheim in December 2022. While the judge worked through these settlements, cases were reduced to 27 from 146 parties. 

In March 2023, the court moved to certify three classes of pork buyers: direct purchaser plaintiffs, commercial and institutional indirect purchaser plaintiffs, and consumer indirect purchaser plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs previously alleged that a group of pork processors, who make up about 80% of the market, manipulated the pork market and its prices. The processors allegedly coordinated supply restrictions and shared competitively sensitive price and product information.

Last year another settlement occurred for a class of direct purchasers when Seaboard Foods LLC agreed to pay $9.75 million under the same group of pork cases.

Previous court documents revealed the commercial and institutional indirect purchaser plaintiffs (CIIPS) settlements between the plaintiffs and JBS and Smithfield Foods.

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