Southeastern Dairy Farmers Harvest $140 million Antitrust Settlement

On July 12, 2011, counsel for a plaintiff class of approximately 7,200 current and former dairy farmers announced a settlement with defendant Dean Foods Co. in In re Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation, No. 2:08-MD-1000.  According to a report by Law360, the settlement, which is subject to court approval, will require Dean Foods to pay a total of $140 million over four years to the class.  Dean Foods issued a release confirming the settlement.  Trial of the plaintiff class’s claims against Dairy Farmers of America and the other non-settling defendants is scheduled to begin next month in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.  The dairy farmer plaintiffs allege a conspiracy to artificially lower the price paid to dairy farmers in the southeast U.S. for fluid Grade A milk in violation of Sherman Act section 1; and monopolization, attempted monopolization and monopsonization, and conspiracy to monopolize and monopsonize in violation of Sherman Act section 2. 

 

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