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Donald Barnes: plaintiffs’ case is ‘far from slam dunk’

08/11/2014
Attorney Donald Barnes is quoted in an article in Policy and Regulatory Report, "Waiver of privilege key in egg plaintiffs’ antitrust settlement with co-ops." Policy and Regulatory Report is an international legal publication that reports on competition law, IP and trade law and sector-specific regulatory change. The article offers viewpoints from a law professor and attorneys for the defense and plaintiffs on the possible ramifications of a preliminary settlement between egg cooperatives in the U.S. and direct purchasers. The settlement, filed July 30, 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, includes a provision that United Egg Producers (UEP) and United States Egg Marketers (USEM) will provide the plaintiffs (direct purchasers of their eggs) with documents formerly withheld on grounds of attorney-client privilege or work product protection. The settlement also requires UEP and USEM to pay $500,000 to the plaintiffs.

Barnes notes in the article that both the UEP and USEM are agricultural cooperatives that, along with their members, are covered by the Capper-Volstead Act, which gives agricultural cooperatives limited exemption from antitrust laws. " ‘The settlement figure is very modest and is a ‘significant development’ only in as much as it reflects a recognition that the direct purchasers’ case is far from a ‘slam dunk’,’ " Barnes said.