Dean Foods settles lawsuit for $140 million

by Staff
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DALLAS — Dean Foods has announced a $140 million settlement for an antitrust case in which Southeast Dairy Farmers alleged the company along with Dairy Farmers of America worked to keep prices artificially low.
Dean Foods will make an initial payment of $60 million after preliminary approval of the agreement and will make payments of $20 million in each of the following four years.

“We continue to be confident that we have operated lawfully and fairly at all times in the Southeast,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer. “We believe this settlement is in the best interest of our shareholders, employees, customers and consumers. Settling this case allows us to focus on the business challenges that we face and to continue to take costs out of our operations while avoiding the expense, uncertainty and distraction of protracted litigation and the likelihood of a lengthy appeals process.”

The case was scheduled to go to trial in August. It originally was filed in July 2007.

“This is a very positive and successful resolution,” said Robert G. Abrams, lead attorney for Southeast Dairy Farmers. “We feel the settlement amount of $140 million speaks to Dean’s past activities in the southeast and the impact those activities had on the dairy farmers. Significantly, in addition the settlement also reflects action Dean has taken toward restoring a more competitive market for southeast dairy producers.”

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