WELCOME TO THE NE DAIRY SETTLEMENT WEBSITE

(last updated March 9, 2012)

IF YOU ARE A DAIRY FARMER, WHETHER AN INDIVIDUAL, ENTITY OR MEMBER OF A COOPERATIVE, WHO PRODUCED RAW GRADE A MILK IN ORDER 1 AND POOLED RAW GRADE A MILK ON ORDER 1 DURING ANY TIME FROM JANUARY 1, 2002 TO MAY 23, 2011, A PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT MAY AFFECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS

For more detailed information, please review the Notice, Claim Form and other court documents on the links at the left.

IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES
Submit Claim Form: Postmarked No Later Than August 23, 2011
Request Exclusion: Postmarked No Later Than June 27, 2011
Make Objections: Postmarked No Later Than June 27, 2011
Approval Fairness Hearing: July 18, 2011, at 9:30 a.m.

Important Update:

After the initial distribution, it was determined that some processing errors had occurred as well as some class members made errors in filling out their claim form. As a result, additional funds were available for a second distribution. On March 9, 2012, a second distribution occurred.


Important Update:

On December 12, 2011 the United States District Court for the District of Vermont ordered the distribution of the Net Settlement Fund. Distribution occurred on December 20, 2011 according to the Court approved Plan of Allocation that determines the pro rata amount of the Settlement for each Authorized Claimant based on their qualified production of raw Grade A milk that was produced in and pooled on Order 1.

A copy of the Order Authorizing Distribution of the Dean Settlement Fund and Order on Motion to Correct may be viewed by clicking the ‘Court Documents’ link at the left.


WHAT IS THE LAWSUIT ABOUT?

The Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against Defendants, Dean Foods Co. (“Dean”), Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (“DFA”), Dairy Marketing Services, LLC (“DMS”). The lawsuit claims that Defendants violated federal antitrust law by engaging in anticompetitive conduct in the purchase and sale of raw Grade A milk in Order 1 and that, as a result, the prices paid to dairy farmers in Order 1 for raw Grade A milk were lower than they would otherwise have been.

A $30 million Settlement with Dean has been reached. The Settlement provides a financial payment to certain dairy farmers in the Northeast who are members of the Dean Settlement Class. Dean denies that it did anything wrong. The other Defendants have also denied that they did anything wrong. The Court has not yet heard or resolved the merits of the Plaintiffs’ claims, or determined whether the Plaintiffs’ or Defendants’ claims are true. The lawsuit will continued against DFA and DMS.

If Plaintiffs later reach a settlement agreement with DFA and/or DMS, you will receive a separate notice of that settlement, which will describe the terms of that settlement and your rights and options with respect to that settlement. If you are a member of the Dean Settlement Class, this does not necessarily mean you will be a member of any future settlement class. Whether you will be able to participate in any future settlements will depend on the specific terms of those settlements, which may be different than the terms of the Dean Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Dean Settlement Class, this does not affect your ability to participate in any future settlements with DFA or DMS.

WHO IS INCLUDED IN THE DEAN SETTLEMENT CLASS?

The Dean Settlement Class includes all dairy farmers, whether individuals, entities, or members of cooperatives, who produced raw Grade A milk in Federal Milk Order 1 AND pooled raw Grade A milk on Federal Milk Order 1 during any time from January 1, 2002 to May 23, 2011. This includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

You are not a Class Member if you are currently an officer or director of Dean, DFA or DMS or if the complaint alleges you participated in the conspiracy that is the subject of the lawsuit. The complaint may be viewed by clicking on the “Court Documents” link on the left.

WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT?

The net Settlement Fund will be distributed to Class Members who file valid claims. The amount of money you may receive cannot be calculated at this time and your share will depend on several factors. These factors include, but may not be limited to: (a) the amount of raw Grade A milk you produced in and pooled on Order 1 from January 1, 2002 to May 23, 2011; (b) the number of valid claims that are received; and (c) the attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses approved by the Court.

More details about the Dean Settlement are contained in the Settlement Agreement available on the “Court Documents” link on the left.

WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

REMAIN IN THE CLASS: You are automatically a Class Member if you fit the Class definition above. You do not need to do anything to stay in the Class. If you remain in the Dean Settlement Class, you can’t sue Dean, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Dean regarding the legal claims in this case, and you will be bound by the decisions of the Court.

FILE A CLAIM FORM: If you are a Class Member and seek to obtain a share of the Dean Settlement, you must send in the Court-approved Claim Form included with the Notice. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the form, sign it, and mail it postmarked no later than August 23, 2011 to the Claims Administrator at the address listed below.

EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE CLASS: If you decide not to participate in the Dean Settlement, you must mail your exclusion request letter postmarked no later than June 27, 2011 to the Claims Administrator at the address listed below. If you exclude yourself,you will retain any rights you may have to sue Dean regarding the issues in this Lawsuit, and you will not receive any potential benefit from the Dean Settlement. Follow the instructions contained in Question 16, page 6 of the Notice.

WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

Questions concerning the Dean Settlement discussed in this website are addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available on this website or can be directed to the Claims Administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at the email, mailing address or toll-free telephone number listed below.

A more detailed description of the Dean Settlement and your rights as a Settlement Class member is contained in the Notice and FAQs available on the links on the left of this website. A complete description of the terms of the Dean Settlement is contained in the Dean Settlement Agreement available on the “Court Documents” link on this website.

TELEPHONE: 888-356-0258
E-MAIL: info@NEDairySettlement.com
ADDRESS: NE Dairy Settlement
c/o Rust Consulting, Inc.
P.O. Box 24750
West Palm Beach, FL 33416

If you change your address, you should immediately provide your correct address to the Claims Administrator at the email, mailing address or telephone number listed above.