Meatpackers Constrain Beef Supplies, Artificially Inflate Domestic Beef Prices

SAN DIEGO (September 8, 2020): San Diego-based law firm Hartley LLP was appointed as co-lead counsel in its class action complaint against the country’s largest meat suppliers for conspiring to constrain beef supplies and for artificially inflating domestic beef prices.

Cargill, Inc., JBS USA Food Company Holdings, National Beef Packing Company, and Tyson Foods, Inc. conspired to limit the supply and fix the prices of beef sold to grocers and wholesalers. Collectively, the companies supply approximately 80 percent of the $100 billion fresh and frozen beef in the U.S. market. Through a concerted effort of beef price and supply manipulation, the prices paid by direct purchasers were substantially higher than they would have paid in a competitive market.

“The country’s largest meat processing and packing companies colluded to reduce the supply of beef and did so at a particularly vulnerable time for buyers,” said Jason Hartley, Founder of Hartley LLP. “By conspiring to artificially inflate beef prices when demand for beef was up, the companies added to the challenge grocers and others faced to supply consumers with this critical staple.  We are proud to be appointed as co-lead counsel in this important case.”

Through an agreement to reduce cattle purchase and slaughter volumes, the companies significantly increased their profit margins. A history of suspicious behavior and complaints from farmers followed by the spike in beef prices during the COVID-19 outbreak prompted the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to launch investigations into all four companies related to price-fixing.

Hartley LLP filed the class action on behalf of all persons and entities who purchased beef in the United States between January of 2015 and the present. The case was filed in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. For more information or for a copy of the complaint, please contact Karen Korr at [email protected].

About Hartley LLP
Hartley LLP represents commercial plaintiffs on a contingency basis and victims of anticompetitive conduct like price fixing agreements, unfair competition, tying agreements and monopolization. Its attorneys have worked to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for its clients. For more information about our practice, visit