Dean Foods to Pay $30 Million in Antitrust Settlement, Dairy Farmers Say

Dean Foods Co., the biggest U.S. milk-products maker, settled an antitrust lawsuit with Northeast Dairy Farmers, agreeing to pay $30 million in damages and buy milk from producers in the region, the farmers’ group said.

Dean Foods and the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative were sued last year by the rival group and accused of operating a monopoly in the Northeast U.S. Farmers received lower prices because Dean bought milk exclusively from the cooperative and its affiliates, according to a complaint in federal court in Burlington, Vermont.

The court hasn’t approved the settlement yet, according to a statement by the Northeast Dairy Farmers. The plaintiffs yesterday filed a motion for preliminary approval of the accord.

Marguerite Copel, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based company, said she couldn’t immediately comment.

The case is Allen v. Dairy Farmers of America Inc., 5:09- cv-00230, U.S. District Court, District of Vermont (Burlington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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