Sued over the COVID-19 deaths of two workers at a Texas meatpacking plant, Tyson Foods Inc. has laid out a defense, also used in lawsuits in other states that might decide if pandemic-era litigation against food producers should proceed in state or federal courts.

Meatpacking plants emerged as coronavirus hot spots during the pandemic, and litigation has been filed across the country because many employees got sick and some died from their infections.

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