U.S. Supreme Court Hands $14.5 Million Victory to Oklahoma Farmers

U.S. Supreme Court Hands $14.5 Million Victory to Oklahoma Farmers

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the petition for certiorari filed by poultry processor O.K. Industries and affiliated companies in Been v. O.K. Industries, Inc., et al.

The high court’s order leaves standing a jury verdict awarding $14,511,935 to a class of just over 300 poultry farmers located in Southeastern Oklahoma. The case was filed in 2002 and has been the subject of fierce litigation ever since. In October 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the jury’s verdict that O.K. Industries had violated the federal Packer & Stockyards Act. The U.S. Supreme Court was the poultry companies’ last chance for appeal.

“We are very pleased that the jury’s verdict has been upheld,” said Charles B. Goodwin of Crowe & Dunlevy, attorneys for the farmers. “After nine years of struggle, these Oklahoma farmers will finally be compensated for the mistreatment imposed on them.”

Firm attorneys working on the case were Goodwin, Harry Woods, Mack Morgan, Chris Woods, Molly Tolbert and Andy Coats.

The poultry farmers alleged that O.K. Industries violated the Packers & Stockyards Act by using its economic leverage and status as the only poultry company in the area to engage in practices that unfairly benefitted the company at the expense of the farmers.

Crowe & Dunlevy rarely represents plaintiffs in class actions, Goodwin said, but this case is different.

“We knew from the first time we talked to these farmers that they were good people who badly needed help,” he said. “It was a privilege to be able to represent them.”

Goodwin said that the next step in the case would be for the trial court in Muskogee to consider the method of allocating the judgment to the various class members and the percentage of the judgment to be awarded as an attorney’s fee.

About Crowe & Dunlevy
Crowe & Dunlevy, which has been providing effective legal counsel for 108 years, is one of the most prominent law firms in Oklahoma, with offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman. The firm and its attorneys are annually ranked among the top professionals in the nation by nationally recognized peer-review organizations.

Updated 05-04-2011

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