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Monday, April 5, 2010

Jury orders Tyson to pay $7.3M to chicken growers



Jury orders Tyson to pay $7.3M to chicken growers
(from Oklahoma)
Read more: http://www.newsok.com/jury-orders-tyson-to-pay-7.3m-to-chicken-growers/article/3451162?custom_click=masthead_topten#ixzz0kFik9j01



IDABEL — A McCurtain County jury returned a $7.3 million verdict against Tyson Foods Inc. on Friday, finding the multinational corporation defrauded a group of 10 McCurtain County chicken growers through a series of deceptive and coercive business practices.
Idabel attorney Tony Benson, who helped represent the suing chicken growers, said his clients are excited about the verdict.
"I heard several comments that it was a long time coming, and maybe this will make Tyson change the way it has been treating its growers,” Benson said.
Tyson officials reacted angrily to the verdict, calling the jury’s decision a "runaway verdict” and issuing a news release stating the company believes it has "strong and numerous grounds” on which to appeal.
The trial, which took three weeks to complete, is the first of several similar trials targeting Tyson scheduled to take place in McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma.
More than 50 chicken growers initially filed a lawsuit in May 2008 against Tyson, which is based out of Springdale, Ark. The case was split into several smaller trials in an effort to keep court proceedings from becoming unwieldy.
Facing more McCurtain County lawsuits, Tyson officials used a portion of their prepared statement to remind local residents of their company’s large economic investment in the county. They also warned that could change.
"We are very concerned about the legal climate in McCurtain County, and we are assessing all options available to us to address this injustice and to prevent it from happening again,” company officials said.
Benson said local residents shouldn’t be overly concerned.
"That’s a threat any big corporation makes,” he said. "I don’t see that happening.”
The jury awarded the chicken growers about $4.79 million in actual damages and about half that much in punitive damages, Benson said.


The damages included $125,000 to each of the 10 growers for mental anguish, Benson said
Mistreatment alleged


In the lawsuit, chicken growers alleged Tyson used its tremendous economic clout to coerce them into growing chickens at less than break-even costs, "driving hundreds of families into bankruptcy and foreclosure.”


The growers claimed Tyson used verbal and financial pressure to try and persuade growers to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to construct newer-styled chicken houses.
"Tyson seeks to place its growers under large enough debt loads that they will be hesitant to refuse any of Tyson’s demands, however economically devastating or unreasonable those demands may be,” the growers state in their lawsuit.
They claimed Tyson punished growers who refused to upgrade by providing them with inferior quality feed and chicks, as well as paying them less for their mature birds.
Growers also alleged Tyson used a secretive system to calculate how much various growers should be paid and refused to allow growers to verify feed delivery weights or the weights of the mature birds they produced for the company.
"Tyson family friends, employees and other Tyson insiders have received preferential pay and treatment,” the growers alleged.
Tyson disputes claims


Among the key witnesses were a Tyson employee who was secretly recorded in 1995 while commenting that complaining growers were being given bad chicks and a former Tyson truck driver who testified he was directed to pick up defective feed from one grower and deliver it to another grower who had been complaining, Benson said.


Tyson defense witnesses denied insiders have been granted preferential treatment or that others were targeted to receive poor quality feed or chicks.
"Throughout the trial, the jury was presented with a tabloid-style rumor mill of mostly fabricated evidence that had absolutely nothing to do with the plaintiffs’ claims in the lawsuit,” Tyson wrote in its news release.
Tyson officials said there are 225 contract producers who raise broiler chickens for the company’s Broken Bow plant, including 79 in McCurtain County.
"Our Broken Bow plant and related operations, including a feed mill and hatchery, generate an estimated annual economic benefit of $75 million,” they said.
"Tyson employs almost 1,100 people in McCurtain County. The company is also in the process of investing more than $29 million in improvements to the Broken Bow plant. The project involves the installation of new production equipment and the creation of 230 additional jobs.”


Read more: http://www.newsok.com/jury-orders-tyson-to-pay-7.3m-to-chicken-growers/article/3451162?custom_click=masthead_topten#ixzz0kFjLleyw Sphere: Related Content

6 comments:

Linda said...

Tyson is a really, really BAD company. I know a friend that works at Tyson and after the things they told me about it, I NEVER buy Tyson chicken if I know it is Tyson... NEVER! If that is all there was, I would never eat chicken again!

Kellie said...

They are bad folks, that's for sure!

Cindee said...

yes, Tyson is to be avoided. On a funnier note -
When I first saw your post, I thought it said MIKE Tyson and I wondered why Mike Tyson would have to pay chicken farmers. I quickly realized my mistake, but when I mentioned it to my husband he said it was probably because he bit the ears off of the chickens. Clever guy.
Cindee

Annie said...

Lmao off Cindee! Hilarious!

The Lilydale company up here is no good either. I know of a guy who worked in the meat department of my old local grocery store...and he told people he would Never buy a Lilydale chicken!

Tom said...

http://www.investorguide.com/stock-news-show.php?story_id=29308244&topic=TSN

March 17, 2010 - 11:02 AM EDT
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TSN 18.57 0.44
Today 5d 1m 3m 1y 5y 10y

Follow the money
Follow the money

Mar. 17, 2010 (Arkansas Times) --

A number of contested judicial races this year, including two for the state Supreme Court, will bear watching this year. The candidates themselves can't say much, on account of ethical codes, but sometimes their contributors speak loudly.

Take, for example, Circuit Judge Rhonda Wood, who is challenging incumbent Court of Appeals Judge Jo Hart for a seat representing a slew of counties ranging mostly north from Wood's home base in Faulkner County.

Her first campaign report showed she'd raised $8,375. Of that, $7,000 came from Tyson Foods -- $2,000 each from the company, Don Tyson and John Tyson and $1,000 from Tyson employee Allyn Tatum.

The Appeals Court, it's worth noting, handles a heavy caseload of workers comp cases. Tatum is a former workers comp commissioner who oversees workers comp for the poultry giant, where workplace injuries happen now and then. Just saying. Wood also got $500 from the Arkansas Insurance Association.

Source: Arkansas Times (March 17, 2010 - 11:02 AM EDT)

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Tom said...

http://www.investorguide.com/stock-news-show.php?story_id=29308244&topic=TSN

March 17, 2010 - 11:02 AM EDT
Print Email Article Font Down Font Up Charts
close
Email this News Article
Your Name
Your Email
Friend's Name
Friend's Email
Receive Copy: yes

TSN 18.57 0.44
Today 5d 1m 3m 1y 5y 10y

Follow the money
Follow the money

Mar. 17, 2010 (Arkansas Times) --

A number of contested judicial races this year, including two for the state Supreme Court, will bear watching this year. The candidates themselves can't say much, on account of ethical codes, but sometimes their contributors speak loudly.

Take, for example, Circuit Judge Rhonda Wood, who is challenging incumbent Court of Appeals Judge Jo Hart for a seat representing a slew of counties ranging mostly north from Wood's home base in Faulkner County.

Her first campaign report showed she'd raised $8,375. Of that, $7,000 came from Tyson Foods -- $2,000 each from the company, Don Tyson and John Tyson and $1,000 from Tyson employee Allyn Tatum.

The Appeals Court, it's worth noting, handles a heavy caseload of workers comp cases. Tatum is a former workers comp commissioner who oversees workers comp for the poultry giant, where workplace injuries happen now and then. Just saying. Wood also got $500 from the Arkansas Insurance Association.

Source: Arkansas Times (March 17, 2010 - 11:02 AM EDT)

News by QuoteMedia