Last week, CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., the company which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., filed a complaint in the Illinois Northern District Court related to the consolidated broiler chicken antitrust lawsuit held in the same court.
CKE, a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Tennessee, reportedly operates over 3,800 restaurants throughout 44 states. The locations on the West Coast are known as Carl’s Jr. while locations on the East Coast are known as Hardee’s. The company explained that it negotiated and contracted with defendants to supply broiler chickens under specific contracts to its restaurants.
The company was assigned additional claims for the purposes of this lawsuit for two distributors, McLane Company, Inc. and its affiliate Meadowbrook Meat Company, which transported chicken from the defendants to restaurants under contracts with CKE. Thursday’s complaint incorporated the Direct Action Plaintiff’s Amended Consolidated Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial which was filed in late January in the larger legal action.
The allegations listed by CKE are similar to those from other restaurants that joined the lawsuit recently including Sonic, Zaxby’s, and Chick-fil-A. Claims from CKE fall mainly under the Sherman Act, which addresses anticompetitive conduct. Purportedly, the defendants worked together to raise the price of chicken while reducing production.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include those in the consolidated lawsuit which have not been dismissed including Agri Stats, Amick, Case, Claxton, Fieldale Farms, Foster Farms, George’s, Harrison, House of Raeford, Keystone Foods, Koch, Mar-Jac, Mountaire Farms, O.K. Foods, Peco, Perdue, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, Simmons, Tyson, and Wayne Farms. Some of the defendants, like Tyson, have announced settlements with some classes of plaintiffs to settle claims, including the direct action class of plaintiffs.