Hagens Berman Announces Class Certification in Case Against Cooperatives Working Together and Other Conspirators


SEATTLE – National consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP announced today that a judge has granted class certification for consumers of milk products in sixteen states in the antitrust case against various dairy companies and trade groups, including the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Agri-Mark, Inc., all of which combined with others to form Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), allowing the case to move forward as a class action.

The ruling, issued by United States District Judge Jeffrey S. White, granted class certification for plaintiffs who allege that CWT conspired to fix the price of dairy products throughout the United States through their dairy herd retirement program. According to the complaint, more than 500,000 dairy cows were slaughtered between 2003 and 2010 in the program to inflate the price of dairy products—allowing CWT members to earn more than $9 billion in additional revenue.

“CWT took drastic and shameful measures to ensure higher profits,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney for the class action against CWT. “We’re working to not only protect consumers from artificially-inflated prices, but also tens of thousands of animals from senseless killings each year. We all recall the great advertisement ‘Got milk?’, what’s missing from this is, ‘Yes, we got milk but at an artificially high price.’”

If the Court finds that Defendants illegally fixed the price of milk, Defendants may be found liable for $800 million in damages to the certified classes.  CWT’s own economist calculated that Defendants’ conspiracy caused $12 billion in overcharges to processors of milk products, and Hagens Berman intends to prove that $800 million of those overcharges were passed on to consumers in the sixteen states for which the Court certified classes.

Hagens Berman’s case, filed on September 26, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, was originated by Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization.

Hagens Berman is representing consumers in the class-action lawsuit against CWT. If you purchased milk products for your own use from 2003 to present in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin, you are encouraged to join this lawsuit at http://hbsslaw.com/cases/dairy-price-fixing or contact the firm by email at [email protected] or by calling 206-623-7292.

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About Hagens Berman Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Find the firm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/classactionlaw.

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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.

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 Ends

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

10/30/12: Motion to Dismiss Denied