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Monitored Litigation


June 13, 2005
State of Oklahoma et al., v. Tyson Foods, Inc., et al.

This is the Oklahoma Attorney General’s lawsuit against the poultry industry in Oklahoma and Arkansas, filed in federal court in the northern district of Oklahoma, 4:05-cv-329. The Oklahoma AG is suing 14 poultry companies who have growers in the Illinois River watershed, which is shared by Oklahoma and Arkansas. The AG is claiming that poultry litter contains hazardous waste and should be regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund law). He is seeking restoration of the Illinois River watershed and damages.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau has been concerned about the poultry growers, who are not a party to the lawsuit, but who nevertheless have been affected. Poultry growing contracts have not been renewed in some areas, and there is concern about the economic effect of this litigation on the growers and their communities. This litigation has had a chilling effect on the poultry industry in Oklahoma, and threatens the entire livestock industry in the United States.

This lawsuit has brought attention to the issue of states using outside legal counsel on a contingency fee basis, as was done in this case. In May of 2007, George W. Bush issued a presidential executive order barring federal agencies from hiring private lawyers on a contingency fee basis.




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