Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Ferguson used funds from chicken and tuna price-fixing cases to send checks to those most affected by conspiracies

SEATTLE — Attorney General Ferguson announced today he resolved his antitrust lawsuit against the final defendants in a sweeping conspiracy to artificially raise the price of chicken on Washington families. The remaining three defendants — House of Raeford Farms, Wayne-Sanderson Farms and Foster Farms — will pay $2.2 million, pending court approval. As a final tally, Ferguson’s broiler chicken price-fixing case involving a total of 19 defendants recovered $37.7 million.

“The corporations involved in these conspiracies cheated in order to increase their profits – and they harmed families in the process,” Ferguson said. “We did what we set out to do — hold these corporations accountable for their greed, restore a level playing field that allows all businesses to thrive, and get money back to Washingtonians most harmed.”

In December 2023, Ferguson announced the $35.5 million from this case, and $5.1 million from a similar case related to price fixing in the canned tuna industry, would be returned to consumers most harmed by the conspiracies. Following a claims process that closed June 5, the office has distributed approximately $30 million to Washingtonians. The claims administrator is processing the remaining claims.

The remaining funds will be used for future antitrust work, including the office's challenge of the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons. The Attorney General's Antitrust Division receives one hundred percent of its funding from successful case outcomes.

As part of all of the resolutions, the 19 companies named in the original lawsuit entered into legally binding agreements to conduct internal training and certify that they have corporate policies to ensure they follow state and federal antitrust laws. Under the terms of the consent decrees, if any of them engage in price-fixing or other anticompetitive conduct in the next five years, the Attorney General’s Office can go to court to seek civil penalties.

Checks sent across Washington state

In December 2023, Ferguson began mailing checks to Washingtonians as restitution from resolutions with chicken and tuna companies Ferguson sued for engaging in a similar price-fixing conspiracy. The Attorney General’s Office had $35.5 million from resolutions in the chicken producers lawsuit and $5.1 million from the tuna lawsuits — $40.6 million overall. The office initially sent checks of $50 or $120 directly to Washingtonians whose household income was at or below 175% of the federal poverty level. Additionally, restitution was available through a claims process to homes that did not receive a check.

As of July 4, 274,595 households cashed the checks originally sent out in December 2023, totaling approximately $27 million for Washingtonians. Ferguson sent out a total of 28,530 additional claims checks. Of those, 15,709 have been cashed so far, for a total of $1,591,860.

The deadline for claims passed on June 5 and the administrator for the program continues to verify additional claims made in its final week.

The resolutions

Here is a breakdown for each company and its resolution:

  • Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. for $11,000,000;
  • Tyson Foods for $10,500,000;
  • Perdue Farms Inc. for $6,500,000;
  • Koch Foods Inc. for $1,400,000;
  • Peco Foods Inc. for $800,000;
  • Mountaire Farms Inc. for $775,000;
  • Sanderson Farms for $750,000;
  • Wayne Farms for $750,000;
  • George’s Inc. for $750,000;
  • Mar-Jac Poultry for $725,000;
  • Amick Farms, LLC for $600,000;
  • Norman W. Fries Inc. d/b/a Claxton Poultry Farms for $475,000;
  • Fieldale Farms Corp. for $475,000;
  • House of Raeford Farms Inc. for $460,000;
  • Simmons Foods Inc. for $425,000;
  • Case Foods Inc. for $395,000;
  • OK Foods Inc. for $375,000;
  • Foster Farms, LLC for $300,000; and
  • Harrison Poultry Inc. for $290,000.

Ferguson named Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms as separate companies in the 2021 lawsuit, but they later merged.

The broiler chickens lawsuit

The 19 broiler chicken producers named in Ferguson’s 2021 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.

An estimated 90 percent of Washingtonians — about 7 million Washingtonians — buy products derived from the chickens these companies produce. In addition, Washington businesses, colleges, hospitals and nursing homes were impacted by the companies’ illegal conduct.

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. Ferguson asserts their conduct violated Washington state antitrust laws.

Assistant Attorneys General Travis Kennedy, Christina Black, Brooke Howlett Lovrovich, Holly Williams, Tyler Arnold, Susana Croke, Rose Duffy and Lucy Wolf; paralegals Tracy Jacoby, Kimberly Hitchcock, Michelle Oliver and Kate Iiams; and legal assistants Grace Monastrial, Keriann Snider and Debbie Chase from the Attorney General’s Antitrust Division handled the case for Washington.

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 federal antitrust laws.

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.

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

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