The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta affirmed a June 2004 ruling by U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom, who rejected a jury's finding that Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. (formerly IBP) used “sweet deals” with select producers to manipulate cattle prices. In the appeal, filed June 2004, attorneys for Pickett claimed the jury based its decision on a “reasonable review of the evidence.”

But, the Circuit Court judges unanimously rejected the appeal which asked to reinstate the jury's decision that IBP damaged prices in the cash market by $1.28 billion over an eight-year period — and order Tyson to pay that amount.

In the 33-page ruling, the Circuit Court said a jury couldn't reasonably find that Tyson had no competitive justification for using marketing agreements.