By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
WEST POINT – Hog producer Prestage Farms this week sued Bryan Foods Inc., claiming the iconic food company stiffed it out of its fair prices for animals set for processing.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi insists Bryan Foods, John Does 1-5 and other unnamed corporations breached agreements for Prestage to supply live hogs to Bryan’s West Point operation and elsewhere.
In a 2004 confidential contract, Bryan agreed to pay Prestage a fixed base price for each 100 pounds of live hogs, which qualified under Bryan’s Evaluated Slaughter Test program. The lawsuit, through Prestage’s attorney Claude F. Clayton Jr. of Tupelo, says the agreement could not be changed by Bryan without Prestage’s consent.
The deal rolled along smoothly through 2004 and 2005, the document says, with more than 98 percent of Prestage’s delivered hogs meeting BEST requirements.
But problems allegedly occurred for the next 18 months with Prestage disputing decreased payments until a new pact in 2008.
After Bryan closed the plant in March 2007, although Prestage supplied hogs to Bryan until the end of 2009, the lawsuit claims during this period Prestage’s percent of BEST-qualified hogs “wrongfully and without case began to drop significantly,” although Prestage made new significant changes in anything related to the hogs.
Prestage accuses Bryan of intentionally violating their agreement to save money.
The lawsuit is only Prestage’s side of the issue. Bryan has not yet filed a response.
The case was assigned by Judge Glen H. Davidson and Magistrate Judge Jerry Davis.
Prestage asks for actual damages, expenses, attorney’s fees and punitive damages, plus interest.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.