Attorneys representing Northeast dairy farmers in their class action antitrust lawsuit against Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Marketing Services have filed motions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont asking the Court to unseal and make case records available to the public and seeking Court approval to send out notices to inform thousands of dairy farmers about the details of a $30 million settlement with Dean Foods Company, the other defendant in the case.
The plaintiffs allege that Dairy Farmers of American and Dairy Marketing Services are misinforming dairy farmers about the merits of the case while simultaneously restricting access to relevant documentation on the basis of a protective order entered in the case. The proposed settlement requires Dean Foods to offer to purchase a portion of its raw milk from multiple Northeast sources.
The lawsuit, filed in 2009, accuses Dairy Farmers of America, and its marketing arm Dairy Marketing Services, of engaging in monopolization, price-fixing and other agreements not to compete in the market for fluid milk in the Northeastern United States. Local dairy farmers were then forced to join DFA and accept reduced prices for their raw milk.