Packer Lawsuit Against Producers Dismissed

Beef carcasses ( Texas A&M )

A pair of lawsuits filed last year involving a packing company and two producers have been dismissed following a confidential settlement.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont show lawsuits filed by Walden Local, a packing company, against Suzanne Chickering and her father, Arthur Chickering III, were dismissed, and Suzanne Chickering also agreed to drop a counter-suit against Walden Local. All parties agreed that with dismissal of the suits they will pursue no further legal action.

“Suzanne is an honest, extremely hard-working young woman,” Ritchie Berger, of Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew in Burlington, VT, told Brattleboro Reformer reporter Bob Audette. “She never should have been sued in the first place. The suit deserved to be and was dismissed.”

Last May, Walden Local sued the Chickerings – who raise beef, pork and lamb – alleging a conspiracy “to falsify weight records” that led to an over-payment of more than $223,000 in 2017 and 2018. The suit alleged the Chickerings conspired with a lead cutter on the meat floor of Vermont Packinghouse to falsify weight records of the Chickering’s animals.

On behalf of Suzanne Chickering, Berger filed a counterclaim against Walden Local in June of last year, contending his client did not defraud the meat company and that, in fact, Walden Local owed Chickering money. Berger told the Brattleboro Reformer that Walden Local has settled with his client paying her an amount that remains confidential.

“Walden dismissed the suit against her (Chickering) and paid on her counterclaim, establishing there was no basis for the lawsuit they brought,” Berger said.

He told the Brattleboro Reformer Suzanne Chickering remains I business, “But I can’t imagine she would do business with Walden Local again.”

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