A group of chicken farmers supplied poultry to Pilgrim’s Pride. After the company terminated its contracts and entered bankruptcy, the farmers sued for damages under a promissory estoppel theory, alleging that its oral promises of a long-term relationship induced them to invest in chicken houses. Clinton Growers v. Pilgrim’s Pride, No. 12-10063 (Jan. 31, 2013) at 2. The Court affirmed summary judgment for Pilgrim’s Pride, finding that the plain language of the contract specified a contract duration (“flock-to-flock,” roughly 4-9 weeks), and foreclosed an estoppel claim about that topic. Id. at 7. Similarly, contract provisions about the farmers’ compensation and maintenance obligations foreclosed other attempts to recast the subject of the estoppel claim. Id. at 8. The Court distinguished a prior Arkansas case about a commitment by Tyson Foods to supply hogs to a hog grower, both on legal grounds and on the strength of the evidence about the alleged misrepresentations by Tyson. Id. at 8-10. The Texas Law Book covered the opinion shortly after its release.
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