On June 15, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota made an announcement regarding a settlement in a class action antitrust lawsuit filed against JBS S.A. and three of its US-based subsidiaries. The court revealed that the defendants agreed to pay $25 million as a resolution to the case, which was brought on behalf of Commercial and Institutional Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs. If individuals had purchased boxed or case-ready beef processed from fed cattle for business use in commercial food preparation in the United States between January 1, 2015, and May 25, 2023, with the exception of ground beef made exclusively from culled cows, they might be affected by the class action settlement.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include JBS USA Food Co., Swift Beef Co., JBS Packerland Inc., and JBS S.A. The plaintiffs claimed that JBS and its co-conspirators intentionally restricted the beef supply and manipulated beef prices for members of the Settlement Class, starting from at least January 1, 2015.
The court defined the settlement class members as "all persons and entities who indirectly purchased, for business use in commercial food preparation in the United States, boxed or case-ready beef processed from fed cattle, excluding ground beef made exclusively from culled cows, from any of the defendants or their respective subsidiaries and affiliates, between January 1, 2015, and May 25, 2023."
If eligible settlement class members reside in any of the following jurisdictions: Arkansas, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or any state where a commercial indirect purchaser claim is permitted, they may potentially receive compensation from the settlement funds.
It is important to note that this settlement solely pertains to JBS and does not dismiss claims against other defendants in the case titled "In re Cattle and Beef Antitrust Litigation (Commercial and Institutional Indirect Purchaser Plaintiff Action), Case No. 22-md-3031 (D. Minn.)."
The court clarified that no money would be distributed at present as the Settlement Class Counsel continues to pursue the lawsuit against other defendants. Settlement class members will be informed in the future about the opportunity to file a claim, pending a court hearing to determine the approval of the settlement.
The global model is unsustainable. We can see the actions of firms like JBS, which are damaging to farmers, ranchers, and consumers. There are no benefits to individual consumers. We must instead focus on the local model. Only local models of production and consumption are sustainable, because they respond to local conditions. The people most affected by those conditions make the decisions that are right for themselves, not for Wall Street investors. Food for thought.