Judge denies $1.28 billion settlement against Tyson

(March 25, 2004) — (Montgomery, Alabama-AP) -- A federal judge in Alabama reaffirmed his decision to not enter a lump-sum verdict against Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods. The judge says saying a jury's recommendation of one-point-two billion dollars for price manipulation "clearly overstates" the damage Tyson caused in the cattle market. In his ruling Tuesday, visiting U-S Senior District Judge Lyle Strom noted that he said before the trial began in January that he would not enter judgment on a verdict for money damages. The judge says there's no way to distinguish between damages suffered by all sellers on the cash market and damages suffered solely by class members. The actual damages in the class-action case will depend on the number of cattlemen affected and the amount of damages per animal, which the court could take months to determine. Tyson's motion to throw out the verdict is still pending. A jury last month sided with six cattlemen who claimed Tyson used contracts with a select few ranchers to drive down the price of cattle on the open market.