Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation Concludes with $158,600,000 Settlement with Dairy Farmers of America and Related Entities

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Settlement brings total award to more than $300 million; agreement includes substantial changes to business conduct in the Southeast dairy industry

CLEVELAND – January 22, 2013 – BakerHostetler is proud to announce the third and final settlement agreement with the remaining defendants in the Southeast Milk Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1899—E.D. Tenn.). Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and the remaining defendants/co-conspirators in the lawsuit that claims violation of federal antitrust laws have reached a settlement agreement with the certified class of Southeastern dairy farmers across 14 states totaling $158,600,000.

“The Southeast milk market has been reformed to the benefit of dairy farmers,” said Robert G. Abrams of BakerHostetler, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “The monetary recovery itself is very substantial and the resulting conduct changes will significantly and positively impact competition in the southeast dairy industry.”

The settlement was reached in advance of the January 22, 2013 trial date and brings the total award for the certified class to more than $300 million. Previous settlements were reached in July 2011 with defendants Dean Foods for $140 million as well as Southern Marketing Agency and James Baird for $5 million plus changes in milk marketing conduct.

In addition to the monetary award, DFA agreed to change its business conduct in the Southeast, including taking steps to increase raw milk prices; removing cancellation penalties on certain full-supply agreements with bottling plants and not entering into new full supply agreements during the Settlement’s term; modifying membership agreements to improve farmer ability to change cooperatives; enhancing price-related information on milk checks; boosting transparency through auditing and disclosure commitments; and facilitating delegate votes on additional meaningful changes to conduct.

“We have always believed strongly in the southeast farmers’ case—a belief that has now been vindicated by three excellent settlements,” said Abrams.

The BakerHostetler team working on behalf of the certified class of Southeastern dairy farmers was led by Robert G. Abrams and includes Robert Brookhiser Jr., Gregory Commins, Joanne Lichtman, Terry Sullivan, William DeVinney, Dan Foix, Carey Busen, Bridget Merritt, Nicole Skolout.

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About BakerHostetler
BakerHostetler is among the nation's 100 largest law firms with more than 800 attorneys coast to coast, delivering the highest quality legal counsel on the most complex and critical issues facing clients today. The firm has offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Costa Mesa, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Its five primary practice groups are Business, Employment, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Tax. For more information, visit www.bakerlaw.com

Contact:

Laura Scharf, Director of Public Relations & Communications (216.861.6616) or
Tracy Hager, Media Relations Manager (202.861.1601)

 

Topics:  Dairy Farmers, Settlement

Published In: Agriculture Updates, Antitrust & Trade Regulation Updates, General Business Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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