Northeast dairy farmers receive settlement payouts

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DFA and DMS pay $50 million doled out among 9,000 Northeast dairy producers.
Payments are now headed to Northeast dairy farmers who were awarded $50 million during a class action lawsuit claiming that Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) and Dean Foods unlawfully conspired to monopolize and to eliminate competition for the marketing, sale and purchase of raw Grade A milk in the Northeast and thereby suppressed prices lower than they would have been in a competitive market.
As part of the settlement of the lawsuit, which began in 2009, DFA and DMS agreed to pay $50 million into a settlement fund. After deducting attorneys’ fees, plus costs, expenses and incentive fees for the dairy farmers who brought the lawsuit, the net settlement fund will be distributed to members of the subclasses who file valid claims. An estimated $4,000 is headed to nearly 9,000 farms to settle the lawsuit.
In a statement, DFA and DMS said they agreed to settle with the class plaintiffs in June 2016. “We did not expect it would take until 2018 for the legal process to conclude before farmers would receive payments from the settlement fund,” they said in the joint statement. “We are pleased this matter is resolved and settlement payments are finally being distributed to dairy farmers in the Northeast.”
In addition to the $50 million settlement fund, DFA and DMS agreed to change their business practices as well as establish an advisory council member position to advocate for farmers within DFA and DMS to promote better pay prices, net income and enhanced equity for them.
Dean Foods agreed to a separate $30 million settlement in 2011.
The deals covered farmers in Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Find additional information about the settlement here.

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