Attorney Citrin Represents Client Suing Koch Foods for Violating the Civil Rights Act

Our firm’s central goal is to pursue justice on behalf of our wrongfully injured clients. Our hope, however, is to contribute to a larger cause, in which we hold companies accountable for breaking laws, abusing the workforce, and prioritizing profit over our society’s foundations of opportunity and freedom.

Recently, we took on a case involving “contract farming,” a decades-old practice that tends to benefit meat processing companies at the expense of individual farmers. Essentially, contract farming is when a processing company hires an independent contractor to raise and sell livestock or poultry. These companies, however, have begun to monopolize rural areas, allowing them to exert extensive control over the farmers’ income, methods, and overall success. Meanwhile, the farmers shoulder the costs of equipment and other investment risks.

According to a report by the Open Markets Institute, over 50% of chicken farmers work in areas dominated by one or two processing companies. Therefore, when a processing company offers a contract that is highly restrictive and unreasonable, the farmer is simply unable to find a better deal anywhere else.

Many of these farmers have begun to speak out against mistreatment, formally asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect them from the abuse of the meatpacking industry. Recently, multiple black farmers have come forward to accuse companies of racial discrimination.

One of these farmers came to Elizabeth A. Citrin, P.C. for legal representation. He explained that Koch Foods terminated his contract because he couldn’t afford the expensive renovations the company asked of him. The company did not ask for these renovations from white farmers. Furthermore, the company had denied contracts to other black farmers because their farms were allegedly too far away, but an investigator discovered that the company hired white farmers who were even farther.

As a result of the company’s actions, our client lost his home, his health, and even his family. In October, we filed a lawsuit against Koch Foods for fraud, breach of contract, and violations of both the Packers and Stockyards Act and the Civil Rights Act. The Packers and Stockyards Act was established to foster and protect fair competition in livestock, meat, and poultry markets. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on certain protected classes, including race.

Koch Foods (not related to the billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch) is one of the largest chicken companies in the nation. It has not officially responded to the complaint in court, but it has denied allegations of discrimination. “If Koch had a bias against [black farmers] for any reason,” the CEO explained, “we would never have offered them contracts in the first place.” As the investigator discovered, however, the company refused to hire black farmers for no apparent reason on multiple occasions.

Our client pointed out the broader issue with this abuse of power. “When a company has as much control as these chicken companies do,” he said, “they can virtually act as they want without fear of reproach.”

While the USDA has not made moves to address this threat, individuals like our client are speaking out against the injustices, and we are honored to support their work.

Are You Ready to Take on Corporate Greed?

If you have suffered loss or injury due to the negligence or abuse of another person or company, you have the right to expose this injustice and pursue compensation. At Elizabeth A. Citrin, P.C., our attorney is fully prepared to stand by your side every step of the way. Attorney Citrin combines personalized, empathic support with aggressive litigation strategies in order to recover maximum compensation for her clients.

Together, we will send the message that companies cannot get away with negligence or abuse. Schedule your initial case review or call us directly at (251) 202-3374 today.