Stillwater News Press

May 4, 2011

STATE UPDATE: Court won't hear poultry lawsuit appeal; plane crashes; redistricting advances


Associated Press

—  The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by an Arkansas-based company that was ordered to pay $14.5 million to Oklahoma poultry farmers.

The court declined without comment on Monday to hear the appeal by Fort Smith-based O.K. Industries Inc.

Oklahoma poultry farmers who had contracts to supply the company with chickens filed the lawsuit in 2002 claiming that the contracts were anti-competitive. The farmers said O.K. Industries used its power as the only poultry buyer in the area to manipulate lower prices for chickens.

O.K. Industries said the farmers failed to prove their claims.

A federal jury in 2008 awarded the farmers $21.1 million. The amount that was lowered to $14.5 million by the judge in the case.

--

An Idaho man killed in a plane crash in western Oklahoma reported a “gyro problem” shortly before his plane crashed near Elk City.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the crash says pilot Art Lazzarini of Hailey, Idaho, was trying to divert to Liberal, Kan., when the plane disappeared from radar and crashed about 11:30 a.m. April 21. The wreckage was found nearly two hours later by a rancher about nine miles northwest of Elk City.

The report says Lazzarini was flying the single-engine, experimental plane from Pueblo, Colo., to McKinney, Texas, where the plane was to be sold.

The preliminary report does not list a suspected cause of the crash. A probable cause report on the crash is not expected for several months.

--

The Oklahoma Senate has sent legislation for Gov. Mary Fallin to sign into law that will redraw Oklahoma’s five congressional districts.

The Senate approved the measure on Tuesday by a vote of 37-5. The Senate also voted 35-6 for a bill to will redraw the Legislature’s 101 House districts and 48 Senate districts. That bill was sent back to the House for more work.

Oklahoma is required to redraw legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years to reflect population changes determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2000 Census recorded Oklahoma’s population at 3.45 million. In 2010, it was 3.75 million.

Under the redistricting plan, all of Oklahoma’s congressional districts except the 5th District will have 750,250 citizens. The 5th District in central Oklahoma will have 750,251.