ST. LOUIS — 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. (collectively “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.
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 www.ButterandCheeseClassAction.com for a list of CWT Members along with their store names and locations.
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 received emailed or mailed Notice do not need to do anything at this time to be eligible to receive a payment. Once the Court has approved the Claim Form, a deadline will be set for Class Members to submit claims. Class Members who received a Notice in the mail will be mailed a Claim Form automatically.
Those who did not receive a Notice in the mail, and think they are a potential Class Member, should identify themselves or their company to the Settlement Administrator as a potential Class Member by letter to the following address: Butter and Cheese Class Action, PO Box 4290, Portland, OR 97208-4290, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or register on the website, so they can obtain a Claim Form, once it is available. Class Members will be bound by all orders and judgments of the Court. Unless a Class Member wants to object to the settlement, THEY DO NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING NOW.
Instructions for objecting can be found at the website or by calling the toll-free number below. Class Members must mail their objection postmarked by March 17, 2020. The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on April 27, 2020, to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for fees and expenses. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at the hearing. Class Members do not need to attend the hearing. Class Members who wish to appear at the hearing must file a “Notice of Intention to Appear” with the Court and they may hire their own attorney to appear in Court for them at their own expense. Detailed information is available at www.ButterandCheeseClassAction.com and toll-free at 1-855-804-8574.