A class action lawsuit brought against JBS by businesses that purchased beef for food preparation has resulted in a proposed settlement of $25 million. The original complaint alleged that JBS conspired with industry rivals to artificially raise beef prices by restricting market supply and fixing prices, a claim that was supported by court documents outlining collusion at trade association conferences and industry events between executives and key employees.
As part of the settlement, JBS must cooperate with ongoing cases against other corporate defendants, including Cargill and Tyson Foods, who have not yet settled the lawsuit. The plaintiffs' lawyers have praised the settlement as a result of "extensive and vigorous arm's-length negotiations" and note that it will provide valuable access to transactional data, documents, witnesses, and other information without further litigation and expensive discovery.
Last year, JBS settled a similar case by agreeing to pay $52.5 million to grocers and other plaintiffs in the "direct" beef purchaser class. Neither JBS nor its lawyers, nor representatives from Cargill and Tyson, have yet commented on the latest development.