Subway Claims it Was Harmed By Anticompetitive Activity In The Pork Industry

On Thursday, the Subway Protein Litigation Corp filed a complaint in the District of Connecticut accusing Agri Stats and major pork processing companies of antitrust activities, which caused it to spend more money on pork. The alleged activities began in 2009 and are continuing. 

The plaintiff filed as the litigation trustee for the Subway Protein Litigation Trust, reportedly purchasing agents for Subway restaurants assigned all interest in the claims to this plaintiff. It claimed that the defendants used information they acquired from Agri Stats to monitor prices and production and control the por supply.  Further, the plaintiff noted that the concentration in the pork industry and the inelastic demand made the collusion more possible. 

As part of its allegations, the plaintiff cited other meat antitrust lawsuits, and Agri Stats’ alleged role in aiding collusion in the broiler chicken industry. The plaintiff alleged that the results of a criminal investigation into antitrust activity with chicken supports its allegations of anticompetitive activity with pork.  

Thursday’s complaint contained one count of violating the Sherman Act against Agri Stats, Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods, and other related entities. The plaintiff claimed that these entities control 80 percent of the pork market. 

Other antitrust lawsuits have already been filed in the pork industry with similar allegations, and some of the plaintiffs and defendants have already reached settlement agreements. A consolidated matter which contains subclasses is being held in the District of Minnesota. 

The Subway Protein Litigation Corp claimed that it paid “artificially inflated prices” for products since 2009, and that in a competitive market it would have paid less for pork. It is seeking damages and an order enjoining the defendants from continuing this behavior. 

The plaintiff is represented by Carlton Fields P.A