Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Time is running out to file a claim — the deadline is next Wednesday, June 5

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that 24,492 claims checks will head to Washingtonians in the next week as a result of his antitrust lawsuits against chicken and tuna producers. The checks amount to an additional $2.59 million to eligible households throughout the state.

Ferguson announced in December of 2023 that his office would mail checks to hundreds of thousands of Washington households as a result of his successful antitrust lawsuits against large chicken and tuna corporations that engaged in price-fixing. The restitution is available to every household whose income is at or below 175% of the federal poverty level. Today’s claims checks are in addition to that original disbursement. Claims check recipients did not receive checks in the original disbursement.

As of Friday, May 24, 273,080 households had cashed the checks originally sent out in December, totaling approximately $26.85 million for Washingtonians. Another 2,980 have received and cashed $301,810 in claims checks. Ferguson will send out 24,492 additional claims checks in the coming days, for an additional $2.59 million to Washington households.

Time is running out for Washingtonians to file a claim. The deadline is next Wednesday, June 5. To file a claim, visit refundcheck.atg.wa.gov. Eligible single-person households will receive $50 checks, multi-person households will receive $120 checks.

“My legal team took on multiple large price-fixing schemes that increased the cost of food for Washingtonians, and we’re putting money back in the pockets of those who were most impacted,” Ferguson said.  “Washington families were cheated by corporate price-fixing conspiracies they knew nothing about. Time is running out to get your fair share. Go to refundcheck.atg.wa.gov today to file your claim. My legal team and I will continue standing up to corporate greed when it harms Washingtonians.”

The restitution comes as a result of Ferguson’s two separate antitrust lawsuits against broiler chicken producers and tuna companies alleging price-fixing and market manipulation to maximize profit.

In December, Ferguson began mailing checks to Washingtonians as restitution from the resolutions. At the time, the Attorney General’s Office had $35.5 million from resolutions in the chicken producers lawsuit and $5.1 million from lawsuits against tuna producers.

Ferguson has resolved cases against all of the tuna companies, and 16 of the original 19 chicken companies. Two of the remaining companies have since merged.

If the case against the last two companies — Foster Farms and Wayne-Sanderson Farms — is resolved at trial, the judge will direct how those funds are used.

The cost to administer the claims process is being paid by the defendants. No taxpayer funds are being used to send out the restitution checks to consumers. Ferguson will make the entire resolution amount available for consumers if enough claims are received. In that case, the administration costs will be paid by the Antitrust Division. The Attorney General’s Antitrust Division receives no general fund support, funding its actions through recoveries made in cases it brings.

The broiler chicken lawsuits

The 19 broiler chicken producers named in Ferguson’s lawsuit account for approximately 95 percent of the “broiler” chickens sold in the United States — a term for virtually all chicken produced for consumption. Broiler chickens are used for everything from chicken breasts consumers purchase at the grocery store, to chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches individuals buy at fast food restaurants.

The Attorney General’s Office asserts the chicken producers drove up the price of chicken since at least 2008, causing consumers to overpay by millions of dollars. The lawsuit asserts a widespread illegal conspiracy to inflate and manipulate prices, rig contract bids, illegally exchange information and coordinate industry supply reductions to maximize profits. Ferguson asserts their conduct violated Washington state antitrust laws.

The Attorney General’s Office investigation found a coordinated, industry-wide effort to restrain production through the exchange of competitively sensitive information, signals during investor calls and direct coordination between players in the industry.

Washington was the first state to hold chicken production companies accountable for their roles in the price-fixing conspiracy. Every time a new resolution was announced, the Attorney General’s Office indicated it planned to use the recoveries to assist Washingtonians harmed by the price-fixing conspiracy.

The tuna lawsuits

Ferguson also garnered more than $5.1 million available for consumer restitution from cases against major tuna companies. Those include a $4.1 million resolution with StarKist, a $500,000 resolution with Chicken of the Sea, a $100,000 resolution with former Bumble Bee Foods CEO Christopher Lischewski, and $450,000 in sanctions against StarKist’s parent company, Dongwon Industries.

Washington was the first state to sue tuna companies and the first to reach a resolution with Lischewski.

Executives at the three companies called each other, texted, used private emails and in some instances had face-to-face meetings at pre-arranged locations such as hotels and restaurants to avoid detection so they could exchange internal company policies and data.

Lischewski complained to other tuna executives before they began the price-fixing scheme that canned tuna was “too cheap” and he wanted the tuna companies to make consumers pay more for tuna. Two of Lischewski’s subordinates testified that he gave “a very clear, direct” order to fix canned tuna prices.

The Office of the Attorney General's Antitrust Division is responsible for enforcing the antitrust provisions of Washington's Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act. The division investigates and litigates complaints of anticompetitive conduct and reviews potentially anticompetitive mergers. The division also brings actions in federal court under the federal antitrust laws. It receives no general fund support, funding its own actions through recoveries made in other cases.

The Antitrust Division investigates complaints about potential anticompetitive activity. For information about filing a complaint, visit https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/AntitrustComplaint.aspx.


Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

Media Contact:

Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

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