Turkey Producers say Amended Complaint did Not Fix Issues With Unjust Enrichment Claims

On Thursday, defendants in a lawsuit alleging antitrust in the turkey industry sought a judgment in their favor from the Northern District of Illinois on 27 unjust enrichment claims which they alleged are “fatally flawed.” This request was filed on the same day answers to the plaintiffs’ amended complaint were filed by each of the defendants. 

The defendants asked the court in their joint motion for a judgment in its favor regarding the unjust enrichment allegations against them and explained in the accompanying memorandum that the claims did not meet the pleading standards set forth in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 17 of the claims contained state-specific issues. 

The defendants discussed the flaws in their motion to dismiss the initial complaint, that motion to dismiss was denied by the court, however, the unjust enrichment claims were dismissed with the judge ruling that there were not enough facts to support the claims. The turkey companies argued that the plaintiffs should not be able to place them in its amended complaint and that the amended complaint did not address the issues with the initial complaint. 

The memorandum said the plaintiff “ wrote essentially a few paragraphs of legal conclusions that they cut and paste several times … that is not enough to address the Court’s dismissal order nor to provide sufficient factual content to state a claim.” The defendants also said that the plaintiff, Sandee’s Catering, did not address the 17 “state-specific pleading defects … that doom seventeen of its unjust-enrichment claims.” 

Thursday’s memorandum alleged that the unjust enrichment claims in the amended complaint did not respond to the court’s order to dismiss them and that they should be dismissed with prejudice. The answers included arguments from the parties against the plaintiff’s other claims of anti-competitive activity. 

The defendants who filed the motion and memorandum included Butterball, Cargill, Cooper Farms, Farbest Foods, Foster Farms, Hormel Foods, Raeford Farms, Perdue Farms, Hillshire Brands Company, Tyson Foods, and Agri Stats.