The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the exoneration of Tyson Fresh Meats in a cattle pricing case, has also ruled the plaintiffs must pay Tyson's court expenses, the company reported Thursday.
The three judge panel unanimously supported a district court decision, ordering the plaintiffs - five individuals and one corporation -- to pay Tyson Fresh Meats more than $70,000 in expenses related to the trial held last year in Montgomery, Alabama.
Last week the appeals court affirmed Judge Lyle Strom's decision to reverse a jury verdict against Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. They found Tyson did not violate the law through its supply agreements with independent cattle producers and has legitimate business reasons for entering into such agreements.
In the subsequent ruling on trial costs, the appeals court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the case was "close" and that they should be exempt from paying Tyson's expenses. The appeals court wrote "this case was not a close and difficult one" and noted the plaintiffs "lost every aspect ..." The court found that "witnesses for both parties agreed Tyson had a number of competitive justifications" for using marketing agreements. "The legal issues were not particularly novel or difficult. Although it took a long time to try, the case was not especially complicated."