Dean Foods Company will pay $30 million to settle allegations by a group of dairy farmers that it monopolized the Northeast milk market, reports attorneys representing the plaintiffs. The settlement fund will be shared between an estimated 5,000 and 10,000 dairy farmers in 11 Northeast states. After the U.S. District Court grants approval, a notice will be sent to eligible dairy farmers to file claims for monetary damage. In addition, the settlement calls for Dean Foods to purchase a portion of its raw milk from multiple Northeast sources.
"This is a major win for dairy farmers in the Northeast who have been squeezed by monopolization and price-fixing," said Benjamin Brown, an attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll, PLLC which represents the plaintiff dairy farmers.
Dallas-based Dean Foods confirmed the settlement in a submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports the Associated Press. It said the company had agreed to the payment as a way to settle the "purported class action antitrust lawsuit." The Dean Foods settlement only addresses part of the original lawsuit. Ongoing litigation continues against Dairy Farmers of America and its marketing affiliate Dairy Marketing Services, reports attorneys of the plaintiffs.