JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods Inc. said Tuesday that it agreed to settle egg antitrust class action claims for $28 million pretax.
The claims were filed in Pennsylvania federal court. Class members can opt in or out of the settlement.
The class-action lawsuit alleges that Cal-Maine and some producers of shell eggs and egg products conspired to decrease the supply of eggs, causing direct purchasers to pay more than needed for eggs.
Cal-Maine Foods said it believes its conduct has been lawful, and it settled to avoid the distraction and expense of a drawn-out suit.
The terms of the settlement have to be approved by the court.
The Jackson, Miss., company said it will book a fiscal fourth-quarter charge of $17 million, or 71 cents per basic share.
Cal-Maine added that the settlement doesn't include class actions filed on behalf of indirect purchasers or non-class action cases about price fixing. The company said it will "continue to vigorously defend" against these cases.