A federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) court has granted several motions to dismiss in consolidated actions alleging a conspiracy by egg producers and trade associations to restrict the domestic supply of eggs. In re: Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2002 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Pa., decided September 26, 2011). Among other allegations, the plaintiffs contend that the defendants agreed over a period of years to reduce the size of egg-laying flocks and require larger cages to reduce overall hen densities as part of an alleged collective plan to keep egg prices high.
In their motions to dismiss, the defendants argued that while the second amended complaint alleged sufficient facts to support the antitrust conspiracy claim as to some of the defendants, “the pleading is deficient with respect to each of the movants by failing to allege facts that they specifically were parties to the conspiracy.” Examining each motion in turn, the court dismissed the claims as to four defendants, but denied the motions to dismiss filed by the remainder. The dismissal was without prejudice to allow the plaintiffs the opportunity to amend their complaint. Additional details about the case appear in Issue 352 of this Update.