Dairy Price-Fixing

DEFENDANT NAME: Several large players in the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O'Lakes, Inc., Agri-Mark, Inc. and Cooperatives Working Together (CWT)
CASE NUMBER: 11-CV-04766
COURT: U.S. District Court
PRACTICE AREA: Antitrust Litigation
STATUS: Settled
DATE FILED: 09/26/11

Hagens Berman filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit against several large players in the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Agri-Mark, Inc. and Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) alleging that the groups conspired to fix the price of milk throughout the United States.

CWT is a massive trade group representing dairy producers throughout the country who produce nearly 70 percent of the milk consumed in the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Sept. 26, 2011, alleged that between 2003 and 2010, more than 500,000 cows were slaughtered prematurely under CWT’s dairy herd retirement program in a concerted effort to reduce the supply of milk and inflate its price nationally. According to the complaint, the increased price allowed CWT members to earn more than $9 billion in additional revenue.

The case was initially researched and developed by Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization.

Dairy herd retirement ended in the summer of 2010, but CWT’s tactics may affect the price of milk for years, according to the lawsuit. Hagens Berman is interested in speaking to consumers who purchased milk or milk products from 2004 to the present. 

Compassion Over Killing released additional information about the case, which can be found at http://www.cok.net/camp/inv/dairy-price-fixing.

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08/27/18: CASE UPDATE

Status of payments to consumers:

The Court approved the settlement, but an objector filed an appeal.  And the settlement funds cannot be distributed until this appeal is resolved.  Briefing deadlines for this appeal were recently set for October and November of 2018.  So hopefully the appeal will be resolved within the next year and then distribution of the settlement funds can commence.

06/26/17: Court Grants Final Approval of $52M Dairy Price-Fixing Settlement

On June 26, 2017, the court granted final approval of the class-action settlement, which allows funds to be issued to consumers. If you have questions about your portion of the settlement, you may contact the settlement administrator here: www.boughtmilk.com.

05/02/17: Settlement Update: Awaiting Court's Approval

The $52 million settlement that came from the milk antitrust lawsuit is very much real and stemmed from a harsh reality –  that the country’s largest dairy conglomerates needlessly, prematurely slaughtered 500,000 cows solely to boost prices and generate profit. Now that the settlement has been reached, we look forward to the court issuing a final ruling on the settlement soon, after which consumers will begin receiving payments. Consumers who are waiting for their reimbursement can also contact the settlement administrator via the boughtmilk.com website to check on the status of their claim.

—Steve Berman, Managing Partner

01/31/17: Settlement Claims Period Has Ended


Submit a simple online claim form at www.boughtmilk.com, or by mail to Fresh Milk Products Antitrust Litigation, PO Box 43430, Providence, RI 02940-3430. Forms must be received by Jan. 31, 2017.


09/06/16: Settlement Reached

Consumers in 15 states and the District of Columbia who purchased dairy products are now entitled to a portion of a $52 million settlement.

If you purchased milk or other fresh milk products (cream, half and half, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream) while a resident of Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin at any point between 2003 to the present, you may be eligible for reimbursement.

09/16/14: Class Certified

Court grants Class Certification.

10/30/12: Motion to Dismiss Denied

Court denies Motion to Dismiss.