Egg Producers’ Counterclaims Dismissed in Longstanding Antitrust Litigation.

In another chapter of multi-district antitrust litigation pending since 2008, two egg producers filed counterclaims asserting fraud and abuse of process against the plaintiffs. The producers argued that the plaintiffs on one hand pressured the producers to adopt the United Egg Producer Certified Program and demanded that the producers offer only Certified eggs while, on the other hand they continued to attack the Program in the current litigation. The producers argued that they could not simultaneously and truthfully assert that the Program was a violation of the law AND that they want their egg suppliers to remain in the Program and deliver only Certified eggs. The plaintiffs sought dismissal of the counterclaims, arguing that they did not contend that the Program was per se illegal but that the producers’ use of supply control within the Program was a per se antitrust violation without procompetitive justification. The court agreed with the plaintiffs and dismissed the counterclaims. Specifically, the court ruled that the plaintiffs were not contending that the Program alone was anticompetitive conduct. The court dismissed the producers’ “conclusory allegations” with prejudice, finding that any amendment would be futile. In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., No. 08-md-2002, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78616 (E.D. Pa. Jun. 10, 2014).    

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