On February 13, 2017, Pomerantz LLP was appointed Lead Counsel in a class action lawsuit against Sanderson Farms, Inc. (“Sanderson Farms” or the “Company”) and certain of its officers. The class action, filed in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and docketed under 16-cv-08420, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Sanderson Farms securities between December 17, 2013and October 6, 2016 inclusive (the “Class Period”). This class action seeks to recover damages against Defendants for alleged violations of the federal securities laws under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Sanderson Farms, an integrated poultry processing company, produces, processes, markets, and distributes fresh, frozen, and prepared chicken products in the United States. The Company sells ice pack, chill pack, bulk pack, and frozen chicken in whole, cut-up, and boneless form primarily under the Sanderson Farms brand name to retailers, distributors, and casual dining operators in the United States, as well as to customers who resell frozen chicken in the export markets. Sanderson Farms’ prepared chicken product line includes institutional and consumer packaged partially cooked or marinated chicken items for distributors and food service establishments.
The complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Sanderson Farms systematically colluded with several of its industry peers to fix prices in the broiler-chicken market; (ii) the foregoing conduct constituted a violation of federal antitrust laws; (iii) consequently, Sanderson Farms’ revenues during the Class Period were the result of illegal conduct; and (iv) as a result of the foregoing, Sanderson Farms’ public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
On September 2, 2016, the market had its first taste of Defendants’ fraud, when Maplevale Farms, Inc. filed an antitrust class action complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the “Maplevale Complaint”) against Sanderson Farms and several other poultry producers, including Tyson Foods, Inc. (“Tyson”), Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, and Perdue Farms, Inc., alleging that Sanderson Farms and the other companies named in the complaint had conspired since 2008 to manipulate the prices of broiler chickens in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-7 (the “Sherman Act”).
Other antitrust lawsuits quickly followed. On October 4, 2016, a group of individual consumers filed an antitrust class action complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the “Monahan Complaint”) against Sanderson Farms and several of its industry peers, including Tyson, alleging violations of the Sherman Act.
Following the filing of the Monahan Complaint, Sanderson Farms’ share price fell $3.98, or 4.14%, to close at $92.21 on October 4, 2016.
On October 7, 2016, Pivotal Research downgraded Tyson from “Hold” to “Sell.” Explaining the downgrade, analyst Timothy Ramey directed investors’ attention to the “powerfully convincing” allegations of price manipulation by Sanderson Farms, Tyson, and their industry peers.
On news of the downgrade by Pivotal Research, Sanderson Farms’ share price fell $4.03, or 4.32%, to close at $89.15 on October 7, 2016.