Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ: CALM ) , the largest producer and distributor of fresh eggs in the U.S., reached an agreement in principle to settle all direct purchaser class claims against it, the company announced today. The allegations against Cal-Maine were that it -- along with other large egg producers -- conspired to reduce the egg supply so as to raise egg prices.
The company will settle those direct purchaser class claims with one payment of $28 million, subject to formal documentation and approval by the court after all class members have been notified. The case is the In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust litigation pending in Pennsylvania federal court. The non-class direct purchaser plaintiffs may choose to participate in the settlement or pursue their individual claims.
The company said it will continue to defend itself in the remaining cases.
"We remain confident that our conduct has at all times been lawful, appropriate, and fair to our customers," said Dolph Baker, chairman and CEO of Cal-Maine.