Amory Investments LLC, the financial services company that purchased various Maines Paper & Food Service Inc. assets after the foodservice distributor filed for bankruptcy, has joined the poultry industry’s sweeping price-fixing suit. The Apr. 9 complaint, filed in the Northern District of Illinois, explains that Amory acquired Maines’ broiler chicken antitrust claims after it purchased assets out of Maines’ bankruptcy last June.
Maines, formerly a large foodservice distributor catering to restaurants and hotels in a number of eastern, southern, and midwestern states, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after months of business struggles largely stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Maines reportedly purchased chickens directly from several producer defendants, leading to claims which Armory now asserts as its successor. The complaint includes a table specifying Amory’s causes of action and the defendants thereto.
The plaintiff, like many other direct purchasers, including Burger King’s exclusive supply chain management and distribution cooperative, Restaurant Services Inc., and last year, Wing Zone and Chick-fil-A and Target, have sought to join the antitrust suit. At its core, the suit alleges that the nation’s top broiler chicken producers colluded to fix, raise, and maintain product prices in a vast conspiracy spanning many years.
Last week, the United States, an intervenor in the case, petitioned the Northern District of Illinois overseeing the litigation for a limited deposition stay, arguing that further discovery could jeopardize an on-going grand jury investigation. The United States further contended that the public interest in an effective criminal prosecution outweighs any prejudice to the plaintiffs arising from the delay.