Midwest Poultry Services defended a federal court multidistrict proceeding, consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which included putative class action claims by both direct and indirect purchasers of shell eggs and egg products. The plaintiffs alleged that the major producers of shell eggs and egg products, through the agricultural cooperatives they participated in, conspired to restrict supply and raise prices by agreeing to export domestically produced shell eggs to foreign markets and agreeing to increase the case space allotted to egg-laying hens, among other actions.
The defendants disputed (or are still disputing), the plaintiffs' allegations and affirmatively defended on the basis that their activities were immune from antitrust laws under the Capper-Volstead Act and other statutory and non-statutory grounds. This case presented a frontal challenge to the ability of producers of agricultural products (in this case, shell eggs and egg products) to engage in joint marketing activities under the antitrust immunity provided by the Capper-Volstead Act and to engage in procompetitive standard-setting activities.
Midwest Poultry settled with all plaintiffs in the MDL, and with plaintiffs in a Kansas state court action.