June 14, 2018 / Press Release

Porter Wright featured nationally for defense win in a bet-the-company federal antitrust case

Porter Wright has been featured in multiple national publications after the firm secured a significant defense win for its client, Rose Acre Farms, in a federal antitrust class action, accusing it and other egg farmers of reducing the nation’s supply of eggs in order to charge higher prices.

For nearly a decade, Porter Wright has served as defense counsel for Rose Acre Farms, Inc. (Seymour, IN) in major federal antitrust litigation, including one action  brought by a class of direct purchasers alleging that it conspired with others to reduce the supply of eggs in the country.  On June 14, 2018, a jury returned a complete defense verdict in Rose Acre’s favor.

Rose Acre—the second largest egg producer in the nation—is one of three egg producers who received the favorable verdict in a case that began in 2008. Led by trial attorneys Jim King, Don Barnes and Jay Levine, Porter Wright helped to secure the complete defense verdict for Rose Acre, alongside the law firms of Keating Muething & Klekamp and Dechert, who represented co-Defendants Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC and R.W. Sauder, Inc., respectively.

Plaintiffs in the case alleged that some of the nation’s largest egg producers committed antitrust violations by engaging in a conspiracy to raise shell egg prices by reducing the supply of eggs through the development and implementation of an animal welfare program designed to give caged egg-laying hens more space, among other alleged activities. The class was seeking more than $1 billion in damages, which could have resulted in a $3 billion verdict after trebling.

The jury deliberated for more than six days and found that Rose Acre’s conduct was reasonable and did not, therefore, violate the antitrust laws. The trial, which began May 2, 2018 and lasted 27 trial days, including voir dire and deliberations, was tried before a jury in the court of Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In addition to the lead trial attorneys, Porter Wright’s team included Partner Molly Crabtree, Associates Jetta Sandin and Allen Carter, with paralegal support from Demetrio Josef and Barbara Harrison.

The case is In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:08-md-02002, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Media features:

  1. "King featured as LAW.com Litigator of the Week for his work in 10-year egg antitrust case," published by The AMLaw Litigation Daily on June 22, 2018
  2. "Porter Wright's egg antitrust case win featured by AgDaily," published at AgDaily.com on June 22, 2018
  3. "Egg Producer Rose Acre Farms 'Not Guilty' of Antitrust Practices," published by New York Ag Connection on June 22, 2018
  4. "Daily Dicta: Egg on Their Faces: Plaintiffs Giants Come up Empty in $3B Antitrust Trial," published by The AMLaw Litigation Daily on June 18, 2018
  5. "Conspiracy For One, Liability For None In Egg Antitrust MDL," published on Law360 on June 15, 2018
  6. "It’s Sunny-Side-Up for Egg Producers in Decade-Long Cartel Case," published by Corporate on Bloomberg Law on June 15, 2018
  7. "Litigators of the Week: Steven Bizar, Joseph Callow and Jay Levine," published by GCR Weekly on June 20, 2018