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Sanderson Farms Must Face RICO Claims in Chicken Price-Fix Case

March 3, 2020, 10:54 PM

Sanderson Farms Inc. can’t dodge racketeering claims over an alleged industrywide scheme to prop up chicken prices by culling flocks, a Chicago federal judge ruled Tuesday, two years after giving the green light to parallel antitrust claims.

The racketeering allegations are part of a sprawling multidistrict lawsuit accusing nearly 30 agribusinesses of conspiring with Eli Lilly & Co. subsidiary Agri Stats Inc., which runs farm sector databases, to manipulate the “Georgia Dock,” a price index.

Chicken farmers traditionally dealt with falling prices by destroying eggs or killing hatchlings, making it easy for them to ramp up production when prices recovered, ...