Federal appeals court upholds $14.5 million judgment for Oklahoma poultry farmers

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 the Oklahoma law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy.

In 2002, approximately 300 farmers in LeFlore County and the surrounding area brought suit against OK Industries, Inc. The company, which is 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 that the company used its economic power as the only buyer in the area to manipulate, in its favor, what it paid the farmers.

The case went to trial in 2008 in the federal district court in Muskogee, Okla., 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. However, that court has now rejected the appeal and affirmed the $14.5 million judgment. The ruling was unanimous.

"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 B. Goodwin, a director at Crowe & Dunlevy.

Joining Goodwin on the case were Mack Morgan, Chris Woods and Harry Woods, also Crowe & Dunlevy directors.


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