Case Against Milk Cooperatives Working Together Settles for $220M

The lawsuit alleged that a handful of major milk producers conspired to reduce milk output.

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ST. LOUIS, MO — A $220 million settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought against National Milk Producers Federation, Agri-Mark, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., and Land O'Lakes, Inc. (Defendants). The lawsuit claimed that an effort known as Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) operated a Herd Retirement Program that was a conspiracy to reduce milk output that violated the law. The Defendants deny doing anything wrong. The Court has not decided who is right.

On April 27, 2020, the Court granted final approval of this $220 million class action settlement and issued a Final Judgment. The settlement is no longer subject to appeal because the period for appeals has passed. On April 27, 2020 the Court approved a Plan of Distribution and set a deadline of April 23, 2021 for claims to be postmarked or received by the Administrator.

The Court decided that the Class includes all persons and entities in the United States that purchased butter and/or cheese directly from one or more Members of Defendant, Cooperatives Working Together and/or their subsidiaries, during the period from December 6, 2008 to July 31, 2013 who did not timely opt-out of the Class. Those that are included are called "Class Members." To be eligible for a payment, a Class Member must have purchased butter or cheese made by a CWT Member. Class Members who are consumers must have purchased butter or cheese made by a CWT Member at one of the dairy co-op stores. Go to the website for a list of CWT Members along with their store names and locations. The Settlement does not include Milk purchases.

The settlement provides that payments to Class Members will be allocated: 37% to the Butter Sub-Class, and 63% to the Cheese Sub-Class. Total payments will be $220 million plus interest, minus: attorneys' fees and expenses; payments to the Named Plaintiffs; notice and administration costs; and taxes.

Class Members who would like to claim purchases of butter and/or cheese made from Defendants must complete and submit the Submitted Documented Claim Form with proof of their purchases. Class Members who do not have documentation to show their butter and/or cheese purchases can complete the Undocumented Claim Form. Both claim forms can be found online at www.ButterandCheeseClassAction.com.

Claim Forms must be signed and verified by the claimant or a person authorized to act on behalf of the claimant and must be postmarked no later than April 23, 2021. Claim Forms should be addressed to: Butter and Cheese Class Action Administrator, P.O. Box 4290, Portland, OR 97208-4290. Do not send Claim Forms to the Court or to any of the parties or their counsel. Complete only one Claim Form covering all qualifying purchases. Do not submit more than one claim, and do not submit duplicate claims.

Detailed information and copies of the relevant Court documents are available at www.ButterandCheeseClassAction.com and toll-free at 1-855-804-8574.

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