For nearly a decade, Porter Wright has served as defense counsel for Rose Acre Farms, Inc. (Seymour, Indiana) in major federal antitrust litigation, including one action brought by a class of direct purchasers alleging that it conspired with others to reduce the supply of eggs in the country. Last week a jury returned a complete defense verdict in Rose Acre’s favor.
Rose Acre — the second largest egg producer in the nation — is one of three egg producers who received the favorable verdict in a case that began in 2008. Led by trial attorneys Jim King, Don Barnes, and Jay Levine, Porter Wright helped to secure the complete defense verdict for Rose Acre, alongside the law firms of Keating Muething & Klekamp and Dechert, who represented co-Defendants Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC and R.W. Sauder, Inc., respectively.
Plaintiffs in the case alleged that some of the nation’s largest egg producers committed antitrust violations by engaging in a conspiracy to raise shell egg prices by reducing the supply of eggs through the development and implementation of an animal welfare program designed to give caged egg-laying hens more space, among other alleged activities. The class was seeking more than $1 billion in damages, which could have resulted in a $3 billion verdict after trebling.
The jury deliberated for more than six days and found that Rose Acre’s conduct was reasonable and did not, therefore, violate the antitrust laws. The trial, which began May 2 and lasted 27 trial days, including voir dire and deliberations, was tried before a jury in the court of Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.