According to the complaint, the defendants, namely National Milk Producers Federation aka Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and Agri-Mark Inc., participated in an agreement to prematurely slaughter the dairy cows in their herds and, as of Apr. 1, 2009, they agreed not to re-enter the dairy farming business for at least one year.
“The principle purpose and effect of this contract, combination and conspiracy has been to reduce the supply of milk, eliminate competition, and significantly reduce the number of dairy farmers competing in the market in order to increase the price of raw farm milk,” the lawsuit states.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which requires final court approval, a total of $52 million in compensation will be made available to Class Members. The actual amount of compensation each Class Member can expect to receive depends on how much milk was purchased for their household, and how many total claims are filed.
Eligible class members include consumers who purchased milk or other milk products including half & half, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt or cream, since 2003 while living in one of these states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Consumers must have bought the milk products from a grocery store or other retailer and not directly from the defendants.