A federal judge has reversed a jury's previous verdict in a cattle price fixing lawsuit against a unit of US meat processor Tyson Foods.

Back in February a jury ruled against Tyson, and recommended the company pay US$1.28bn in damages, in a lawsuit that accused Tyson Fresh Meats, formerly IBP, of controlling cattle prices through its marketing agreements with independent cattle producers.

However, Judge Lyle Strom has now ruled that the verdict reached by the Alabama jury in February was contrary to the law and evidence in the case. Strom determined that Tyson Fresh Meats did not violate the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) through entering into marketing agreements. 

"This decision is a victory for US cattle producers and our company," John Tyson, chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, said. "It protects the freedom of producers to market cattle the way they want and it affirms our strongly held belief that our livestock buying practices are proper."