Southeast Antitrust Lawsuit Settlement
Following are updates provided by Julie Walker, a Tennessee resident and former dairy farmer. Julie is providing reports of the out-of-court settlement reached one day before the Southeast Antitrust Trial was due to begin Tuesday, January 22, 2013 in Greeneville, Tenn.
January 21, 2013 Update from Julie Walker
January 22, 2013 Update from Julie Walker
Kansas City Star 1/22/13 : Dairy Farmers of America agrees to $158.6 million settlement in milk price case
Thomson Reuters 1/22/13: Dairy co-op and farmers reach $159 mln settlement in milk case
Kansas City Business Journal 1/23/13: DFA settles antitrust suit for $158.6 million
Credit Union Times 1/24/13 - Dairy Farmers Cooperative to Pay $140 Million in Milk Price-Fixing Suit
The Milkweed Feb 2013 - Aftermath: Costs of DFA’s “Bad Form” Business – a Billion Dollar Moving Target
February 26, 2013 Updates from Julie Walker:
1. Letter from Ben Shelton to his fellow Southeast dairymen: Attached is a letter that Ben Shelton, a NC dairyman and dairy industry leader, has asked to have circulated, providing his perspective and evaluation as we near the Fairness Hearing and expected conclusion of the litigation. Mr. Shelton spoke at the Fairness Hearing of the Dean Foods/SMA Settlement, is familiar with milk marketing as well as the complex issues of the case.
2. Bloomberg Interviews the Farmer-Plaintiff Lead Attorney: Robert Abrams, the plaintiff/farmer lead counsel for the team of attorneys from Baker/Hostetler, was interviewed by Bloomberg News – Law regarding several issues surrounding the SE Milk Litigation. He explains the allegations that were the center of the Class Action, the marketplace changes that have ensued since the litigation was filed in 2007, and notes that a ‘strong, appropriately run’ DFA can benefit the Southeast dairy industry. To bring the litigation to a close that included a full class of all dairy farmers (thus ensuring that DFA members were able to receive a portion of any settlement or judgment that resulted), Abrams and the Baker attorneys were accompanied by Brewer and Terry, a Tennessee firm whose appointment ‘cured’ the intraclass conflict that at one time caused the DFA members to be decertified for about 5 months. The video is 17 minutes long, but offers a thorough, but brief, perspective from to the case from the antitrust specialist who took the responsibility of protecting farmer interest: Link to Bloomberg Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ3M3HjmqHk&feature=player_detailpage
3. NPR – a follow-up: Peggy Lowe, of Harvest Public Media posted on a Kansas City NPR affiliate’s Web site an article entitled - “Dairy Settlement Doesn’t Deliver Reform.” The article quotes Dr. Sam Galphin, a North Carolina consulting veterinarian, and Dr. Peter Carstensen, a UW-Madison professor who has followed agricultural anti-trust for a number of years. http://www.kcur.org/post/dairy-settlement-doesnt-deliver-reform
4. The Settlement Agreement (for your convenience): It is highly suggested that all dairy farm families read the 34-page Preliminary Settlement Agreement. Should anyone have questions or comments, and/or wish to make comments at the Fairness Hearing, it is recommended you do so before the March 20th deadline for filing Notice to Speak at the Fairness Hearing scheduled for April 3, 2013. http://www.southeastdairyclass.com/PDFs/SettlementAgreementofDFAandHanman.pdf
Information about additional outside media perspectives will be provided in the future.