MINNEAPOLIS – JBS USA, a unit of São Paulo-based JBS S.A., settled part of a lawsuit that accused the company of conspiring with other meat processors to fix prices for pork.
Lawyers for JBS USA and a group of direct purchasers, which includes distributors and foodservice operators, notified the US District Court of Minnesota in a court filing that the parties reached an agreement to settle all claims against JBS.
"JBS USA has entered into an agreement to resolve all claims against the company regarding the direct sale of pork products," a spokesman for the company said. "While JBS USA denies the allegations in the lawsuit and does not admit any liability, we believed a settlement was in the best interests of the company."
Details of the settlement were not immediately disclosed, but the agreement is subject to the court’s approval.
Also named in the complaint are Agri Stats, Clemens Food Group LLC, Hormel Foods Corp., Indiana Packers Corp., Seaboard Foods LLC, Smithfield Foods Inc., Triumph Foods LLC and Tyson Foods Inc.
The proposed agreement does not cover lawsuits filed by consumers and retailers which the court agreed to consolidate with the direct purchasers’ lawsuit.
In August of 2019, the court dismissed the lawsuits on grounds that plaintiffs did not adequately prove parallel conduct enough to support an inference of a conspiracy. However, the court did grant the plaintiffs leave to amend their complaints.
The direct purchaser plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in January.