Potatoes Antitrust Litigation
WKA was appointed to the Executive Committee of a class of direct purchasers of fresh and processed potatoes bringing claims against potato growers, their cooperatives, processors, and packers, who violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to manipulate the price of fresh potatoes.
The case, In re Fresh and Process Potatoes Antitrust Litigation, is pending before Judge Winmill in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.
The complaint alleges that, beginning in 2004, potato growers formed cooperatives for the sole purpose of fixing potato prices by, among other conduct, agreeing to various production restrictions that suppressed the supply of fresh potatoes and increased prices.
The co-ops and their members imposed penalties on potato-grower members that did not comply with the planting and related restrictions, and operated a potato dehydration enterprise to divert fresh potatoes into processing. Potato packers involved in the conspiracy imposed “shipping holidays,” during which their operations would shut down in order to reduce the flow of fresh potatoes to the market.