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Jury in US orders egg suppliers to pay $17.7 million in damages for price gouging in 2000s

Published:Saturday | December 2, 2023 | 4:21 PM
In this July 28, 2012 file photo, chicken eggs are transported by conveyor belt from the production side to the packaging side at Rose Acre Farms Inc. in Cortland, Indiana. (Aaron Piper/The Tribune via AP, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal jury in Illinois ordered $17.7 million in damages — an amount tripled to more than $53 million under federal law — to several food manufacturing companies who had sued major egg producers over a conspiracy to limit the egg supply in the United States.

The jury ruled last week that the egg producers used various means to limit the domestic supply of eggs to increase the price of products during the 2000s.

The time frame of the conspiracy was an issue throughout the case; jurors ultimately determined damages occurred between 2004 and 2008.

The damages verdict was reached Friday in the Northern District of Illinois.

According to federal antitrust law, the damages are automatically tripled, bringing the total to over $53 million.

Court documents on the verdict were not readily available Friday evening, but statements from the manufacturers' attorney and one of the egg producers confirmed a total of about $17.7 million.

“We are extremely grateful for the jury's service and findings,” Brandon Fox, an attorney representing the food manufacturers, said in a statement.

“This was an important case for many reasons, and the jury's award recognises its significance.”

Attorneys for the four egg suppliers named in the lawsuit did not immediately return phone messages on Friday.

Court documents show the defendants have denied the claims.

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