Court upholds judgment for poultry farmers

TulsaBusiness.com
Oct. 19, 2010

On Oct. 13, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a $14.5 million judgment for poultry farmers in southeast Oklahoma. The farmers were represented by law firm Crowe & Dunlevy, whose offices are in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Norman.

In 2002, about 300 farmers in LeFlore County and the surrounding area brought suit against OK Industries Inc. The company, located in Fort Smith, Ark., produces poultry products and had entered into contracts with the Oklahoma farmers to raise chickens for it. The farmers alleged the company used its economic power as the only buyer in the area to manipulate, in its favor, the farmers’ payments.

The case went to trial in 2008 in the federal district court in Muskogee, resulting in a jury verdict for the farmers of $21.1 million. The district judge later reduced the amount to $14.5 million. OK Industries appealed the jury verdict to the Tenth Circuit. The court, however, has now rejected the appeal and affirmed the $14.5 million judgment.

“We are extremely satisfied to see this legal battle end in a victory for our clients, supporting the jury's determination that OK Industries had mistreated Oklahoma farmers," said attorney Charles Goodwin, a director at Crowe & Dunlevy.

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