Federal Court Dismisses All Criminal Antitrust Charges Against LSW Client in High-Profile Poultry Industry Case
A federal district court in Colorado dismissed all criminal price-fixing charges against Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP client Justin Gay upon the motion by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to terminate the prosecution. The dismissal came only months before trial was set to begin. Mr. Gay, formerly a national sales executive for chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride, had been indicted along with three other former Pilgrim’s Pride employees following a lengthy DOJ investigation. The court also dismissed all charges against former Pilgrim’s Pride executive Wesley Scott Tucker, represented by Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC in Birmingham, Alabama.
This matter was part of the largest DOJ price-fixing enforcement action in decades. The DOJ’s investigation has already resulted in three trials in Denver, Colorado, in a related case charging ten individuals with price-fixing. Those trials resulted in two mistrials and acquittals or dismissals against all defendants.
John Siffert said in a statement that the defense is grateful “the government is abandoning its case” against the two executives. He noted that “Mr. Gay should never have been charged, and he can now move on with his life. We hope that the government will recognize that its case against the remaining defendants is also misguided and will dismiss the charges against them as well.”
The government’s investigation was officially announced in 2019 when it intervened in a private lawsuit alleging the country’s largest chicken producers engaged in anti-competitive activity. In subsequent criminal prosecutions the DOJ alleged that the chicken companies and their executives and employees coordinated with one other about pricing for restaurants and other wholesale chicken buyers. All defendants whose trials proceeded to verdict have been acquitted.
The case is U.S. v. McGuire et al., case number 1:21-cr-00246, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.