U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on April 24 partially granted motions to dismiss indirect purchaser claims against three egg producers and one trade group: Daybreak Foods Inc., Hillandale Farms, Land O’Lakes Inc. and the United Egg Association. Pratter dismissed without prejudice federal Sherman Antitrust Act claims, but allowed state law claims to stay in the case. The rulings largely represent a win for Crowell & Moring (Daybreak), Pepper Hamilton (UAE), Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney (Hillandale) and Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg (Land O’Lakes).
The judge found that the indirect purchasers failed to point to conduct by the four defendants suggesting they participated in an industry-wide conspiracy. Plaintiffs lawyers at Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson and Straus & Boies tried to connect the four defendants to an unlawful conspiracy through their membership in a trade group called United Egg Producers and participation in UEP meetings. “Those allegations are insufficient to plausibly suggest” involvement in a conspiracy, Pratter ruled.
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