Judge approves Dean Foods’ settlement with Northeast dairy farmers

Posted Aug. 05, 2011, at 3:23 p.m.

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont judge has granted final approval to a settlement that would require dairy processor Dean Foods Co. to pay more than 9,000 Northeast farmers and their attorneys $30 million to settle antitrust allegations.

The settlement stems from a class-action lawsuit that accused Dallas-based Dean Foods, the cooperate Dairy Farmers of America and the cooperative’s marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services, of working together to monopolize the market for raw milk in the Northeast, driving down prices paid to dairy farmers.

Dean does not admit any wrongdoing. Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Marketing Services have opposed the settlement.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled on Thursday that the settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The Burlington Free Press reports she also reduced plaintiffs’ expenses and attorneys’ fees from the $10 million requested to $6 million.

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