Northeast Dairy Farmer Antitrust Litigation

Background

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) plays a vital role in the Northeast dairy industry, as the overwhelming majority of dairy farmers are members of, and market their milk through, this one cooperative.  The cooperatives then market the milk to be processed and bottled for fluid or other uses, such as in cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and milk powder.  Even for farmers who are not part of DFA, the cooperative still exercises extraordinary power over the purchase of Class A milk in the Northeast.

Indeed, a complaint filed by our firm on July 29, 2022, alleges that from at least May 10, 2016, DFA attempted to or did monopsonize the market for raw Grade A milk in the Northeast.  DFA did so by foreclosing Northeast dairy farmers’ ability to market their milk independent of DFA  and even foreclosed farmers’ ability to profitably market their milk through DFA.  It achieved this foreclosure, and the consequent durable reduction in the Grade A raw milk prices received by all Northeast dairy farms, through a series of anticompetitive actions in the Northeast raw Grade A milk market.  All these actions were directed at constraining, and have constrained, Northeast dairy farmers’ ability to get milk to market other than through DFA.

DFA’s actions left no room for Northeast farmers that are not DFA members any more than it leaves room for Northeast dairy processors that are not controlled, either directly or indirectly, by DFA.  Over time, DFA has taken predatory and exclusionary actions to position itself as the sole conduit for Northeastern dairy farmers to get their raw milk to market, and to control the Northeast raw milk processing capacity, the only market into which Northeast dairy farmers can sell their perishable product.  Simply put, DFA has sought to stifle and smother all competition in the market for the purchase of raw milk in the Northeast. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont on July 27, 2022

Are you a Northeastern dairy farmer?
If you are or were a dairy farmer located in DFA’s Northeast region, comprising Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the majority of Pennsylvania, except for its westernmost portion (the “Northeast Dairy Market”), please contact us.

CONTACT

If you would like to discuss your legal options, please contact Brian Clark or Steve Teti at bdclark@locklaw.com, sjteti@locklaw.com or at 612-339-6900.

ARTICLES & DOCUMENTS

2022-07-29 – Complaint SRJF v DFA

Dairy Farmers of America Hit With New Antitrust Lawsuit in Northeast

Dairy Farmers of America in class action lawsuit over 'monopsony'

DFA named in another Northeast antitrust lawsuit

USA: DFA Facing New Lawsuit in Northeast

Dairy Farmers of America Hit with Class Action Over Alleged 'Stranglehold' On Northeast Raw Milk, Processing Markets

Southwest Dairy Farmer Antitrust Litigation

Background

Dairy cooperatives like DFA and Select play a vital role in the Southwest dairy industry, as the overwhelming majority of dairy farmers are members of, and market their milk through, these cooperatives. The cooperatives then market the milk to be processed and bottled for fluid or other uses, such as in cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and milk powder.

Beginning in at least January 2015, the prices that Southwestern dairy farmers received for the raw Grade A milk they produced have been remarkably low, often below the farmers’ costs to produce the milk. The lawsuit alleges that DFA and Select began coordinating after the rates paid to Southwestern dairy farmers reached high prices in 2014. Among other things the farmers allege, beginning in at least January 2015, DFA and Select Milk shared pricing information and coordinated pricing and price-related decisions to drive down the price paid to Southwestern farmers for the milk they produced. These defendants capitalized on perceived oversupply, foreign milk production, and decreased fluid milk consumption to offer artificially low prices to Southwestern dairy farmers. The lawsuit alleges that DFA and Select pay their farmers nearly identical rates for the milk they produce each month, and otherwise limit the negotiating power and pricing options for dairy farmers.

The lawsuit alleges that the effect of DFA and Select’s conspiracy “has been devastating to many dairy farmers,” which “has led numerous farmers to borrow from generations of equity built up in their land, relying on that equity to pay themselves and keep their farms in operation. Many Southwestern dairy farmers have been forced to declare bankruptcy and/or completely closed their operations.”

The lawsuit alleges that the dairy industry is particularly susceptible to antitrust conspiracies due to high consolidation within the industry, incredibly complicated price formulas, and a lack of price transparency. As the dominant players, holding the overwhelming majority of market share for Southwest milk production, DFA and Select dictate the prices offered to Southwestern dairy farmers.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico on April 4, 2022, and is captioned Othart Dairy Farms, LLC, Pareo Farm, Inc., Pareo Farm II, Inc., Desertland Dairy, LLC, Del Oro Dairy, LLC, Bright Star Dairy, LLC, and Sunset Dairy, LLC, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., Select Milk Producers, Inc., and Greater Southwest Agency, 22-cv-00251-GJF-SMV.

Are you a Southwestern dairy farmer?
If you are or were a dairy farmer located in New Mexico, Texas, southwestern Kansas, eastern Arizona, or the Oklahoma panhandle since 2015, please contact us.

CONTACT

If you would like to discuss your legal options, please contact Brian Clark or Steve Teti at bdclark@locklaw.com, sjteti@locklaw.com or at 612-339-6900.

ARTICLES & DOCUMENTS

2022-04-04 [1] Othart Dairy Farms, LLC et al v. Dairy Farmers Of America, Inc. et al Complaint

Top U.S. Dairy Co-Op Hit With Antitrust Lawsuit Over Farmer Pay

Dairy Farmers File Class Action against Southwest Dairy Cooperatives Alleging Violations of Sherman Act

Dairy producers file class action complaint in Southwest

New Mexico dairy farmers allege price fixing in antitrust suit against cooperatives

IN RE SYNGENTA LITIGATION PLAINTIFFS’ LIAISON

ABOUT

Minnesota State Court Consolidated Actions
Fourth Judicial District, Hennepin County, MN

Court File 27-CV-153785
Judge: The Honorable Thomas M. Sipkins

A number of cases that allege Syngenta negligently sold genetically modified corn seeds, Viptera® and Duracade®, that contains the trait MIR-162 have been filed in Minnesota state courts and consolidated before Judge Thomas Sipkins in Hennepin County District Court.

Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. was appointed Liaison Counsel by the Court and, in that role, is making pertinent documents and pleadings available to the public as directed by the Court.

CONTACT

Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel
Robert K. Shelquist
LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN P.L.L.P.
100 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
Phone: (612) 339-6900
rkshelquist@locklaw.com

ORDERS

11-14-2016
Order Designating Class Certification Order Public

11-03-2016
Order Certifying Class

11-03-2016
Order (Regarding Judgment on the Pleadings Briefing Schedule)

10-21-2016
Order (Regarding Punitive Damages Briefing Schedule)

10-19-2016
Scheduling Order No. 4

09-06-2016
Order (Regarding Filing Third-Party Complaint)

08-05-2016
Order Establishing Common Benefit Rules

08-01-2016
Scheduling Order No. 3

07-21-2016
Order Regarding Bellwether Trial Plaintiff Selection and Ranking

07-12-2016
Order (Regarding Plaintiff Fact Sheets and Defendant Fact Sheets)

06-14-2016
Order (Replacing Bellwether Plaintiff)

05-03-2016
Order Regarding the Process for Substitution of Successors of Deceased Plaintiffs

04-13-2016
Order (Replacing Bellwether Plaintiff)

04-13-2016
Order (Replacing Bellwether Plaintiff)

04-07-2016
Order (Regarding Dismissal-denied in part; granted in part)

03-24-2016
Order (Replacing Bellwether Plaintiffs)

03-23-2016
Order Appointing Special Master for Settlement

03-01-2016
Order (Replacing Bellwether Plaintiffs)

02-25-2016
Order Regarding Special Master Recommendations Due 03-11-16

12-22-2015
Order Regarding Bellwether Selection

12-05-2015
Common Benefit Order

11-04-2015
Scheduling Order No. 2

11-04-2015
Coordination Order

10-30-2015
Order Regarding the Process for the Dismissal of Cases Filed

10-30-2015
Order Approving Notices to Conform

10-30-2015
Preservation Order

10-30-2015
Order Regarding Page Limits on Briefing

10-30-2015
Bellwether Selection Order

10-06-2015
Order for Status Conference

09-25-2015
ESI Protocol

09-25-2015
Scheduling Order No. 1

09-25-2015
Stipulated Protective Order

09-15-2015
Order for Status Conference (setting for September 25, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.)

08-27-2015
Order Appointing Special Master

08-06-2015
Order Appointing Lead Counsel

07-07-2015
Order to Change Venue (Consolidation of Cases to Hennepin Cty)

07-07-2015
Pretrial Order #1

OTHER FILINGS

12-01-2016
Plaintiffs’ Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Amend to Add Punitive Damages

11-23-2016
Syngenta’s Memorandum of Law in Support of Rule 12.03 Motion for Partial judgment on the Pleadings

11-23-2016
Syngenta’s Notice of Motion and Rule 12.03 Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings

06-20-2016
Syngenta’s ANSWER and Defenses to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Minnesota Class Action Master Complaint for Producers

06-20-2016
Syngenta’s ANSWER and Defenses to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Master Complaint (Non-Class)

05-06-2016
SECOND AMENDED MINNESOTA CLASS ACTION MASTER COMPLAINT FOR PRODUCERS

05-06-2016
SECOND AMENDED MASTER COMPLAINT FOR PRODUCERS AND NON-PRODUCERS (Non-Class)

12-22-2015
Syngenta’s Second Affidavit in Support of Motion to Dismiss

12-22-2015
Syngenta’s Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss

12-15-2015
Defendants’ Reply Regarding Rolling Production of Plaintiff Fact Sheets

12-11-2015
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Syngenta’s Motion for 50,000 Plaintiff Fact Sheets

12-07-2015
AMENDED Notice of Motion for Rolling Production of PFS

12-01-2015
Syngenta Affidavit re Rolling Production of PFS

12-01-2015
Syngenta Memo re Rolling Production of PFS

12-01-2015
Syngenta Notice of Motion for Rolling Production of PFS

12-01-2015
Affidavit in Support of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Syngenta’s Motion to Dismiss

12-01-2015
Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

11-11-2015
Letter Regarding Interim Status Conferences

11-09-2015
Syngenta’s Notice of Motion to Dismiss (hearing set for January 8, 2016 at 9:00 am)

11-09-2015
Syngenta’s Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to DIsmiss

11-06-2015
First Amended Minnesota Class Action Master Complaint

11-05-2015
FIRST AMENDED MASTER COMPLAINT for Producers and Non-Producers (Non-Class)

10-29-2015
Proposed Common Benefit Order

10-29-2015
Joint Proposal

10-28-2015
Syngenta’s Brief in Support of its Proposed Coordination Order

10-28-2015
Brief Supporting Plaintiffs’ Proposed Coordination Order

10-28-2015
Proposed Coordination Order

10-27-2015
Proposed Agenda for October 30, 2015 Status Conference

10-23-2015
Proposed Notices to Conform

10-23-2015
Joint Proposal (re Preservation and Bellwether Selection)

10-02-2015
Master Complaint for Producers And Non-Producers (Non-Class)

10-02-2015
Minnesota Class Action Master Complaint for Producers and Non-Producers

09-23-2015
Plaintiffs’ Proposed Agenda for September 25, 2015 Status Conference

09-23-2015
Defendants’ Initial Response to Plaintiffs’ Proposals in Anticipation of September 25, 2015 Status Hearing

09-23-2015
Proposed Agenda for September 25, 2015 Status Conference

09-04-2015
Joint Proposal with exhibits

DISCOVERY

12-28-2015
Syngenta’s First Set of Requests for Production to Bellwether Plaintiffs (Non-Producers)

12-24-2015
Syngenta’s Cross-Notice of Depositions of MDL Producer Plaintiffs in all Actions

12-23-2015
Syngenta’s First Set of Requests for Production to Bellwether Plaintiffs (Producers)

LEADERSHIP

PLAINTIFFS’ CO-LEAD COUNSEL

Lewis A. Remele Jr.
BASSFORD REMELE PA
33 South Sixth Street, Suite 3800
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Phone: (612) 333-3000
Email: lremele@bassford.com

Francisco Guerra IV
WATTS GUERRA LLP
Four Dominion Drive, Bldg. 3, Suite 100
San Antonio, Texas 78257
Phone: (210) 447-0500
Email: fguerra@wattsguerra.com

PLAINTIFFS’ CO-LEAD INTERIM CLASS COUNSEL

William R. Sieben
SCHWEBEL GOETZ & SIEBEN PA
5120 IDS Center
80 South Eight Street, Suite 5120
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Phone: (612) 377-7777
Email: bsieben@schwebel.com

Daniel E. Gustafson
GUSTAFSON GLUEK, PLLC
Canadian Pacific Plaza
120 South 6th Street, Suite 2600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 333-8844
dgustafson@gustafsongluek.com

PLAINTIFFS’ EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Lewis A. Remele Jr.
BASSFORD REMELE PA
33 South Sixth Street, Suite 3800
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Phone: (612) 333-3000
Email: lremele@bassford.com

William R. Sieben
SCHWEBEL GOETZ & SIEBEN PA
5120 IDS Center
80 South Eight Street, Suite 5120
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Phone: (612) 377-7777
Email: bsieben@schwebel.com

Robert K. Shelquist
LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN PLLP
100 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
Phone: (612) 339-6900
Email: rkshelquist@locklaw.com

Will Kemp
KEMP, JONES & COULTHARD, LLP
Wells Fargo Tower
3800 Howard Hughes Parkway
17th Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 385-6000
Email: wkemp6000@gmail.com

Richard M. Paul III
PAUL McINNES LLP
601 Walnut Street, Suite 300
Kansas City, Missouri 64106
Phone: (816) 984-8100
Email: paul@paulmcinnes.com

Francisco Guerra IV
WATTS GUERRA LLP
Four Dominion Drive, Bldg. 3, Suite 100
San Antonio, Texas 78257
Phone: (210) 447-0500
Email: fguerra@wattsguerra.com

Daniel E. Gustafson
GUSTAFSON GLUEK, PLLC
Canadian Pacific Plaza
120 South 6th Street, Suite 2600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 333-8844
dgustafson@gustafsongluek.com

Clayton A. Clark
CLARK, LOVE & HUTSON
440 Louisiana Street
Suite 1600
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 7571400
Email: cclark@triallawfirm.com

Paul Byrd
PAUL BYRD LAW FIRM, PLLC
415 N. McKinley Street
Suite 210
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: (501) 420-3050
Email: paul@paulbyrdlawfirm.com

Tyler W. Hudson
WAGSTAFF & CARTMELL, LLP
4740 Grand Avenue
Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64112
Phone: (816) 701-1177
Email: thudson@wcllp.com

BABY FOOD LITIGATION (612) 339-6900

SIGNIFICANT COURT DOCUMENTS

2021-03-11

2021-03-11-Gulkarov-Consolidated-Complaint-v-Plum

2021-02-22

2021-02-22-Willoughby-v-Hain-Celestial-Complaint

2021-02-19

2021-02-11-Peek-v-Beech-Nut-Complaint-NY

2021-02-08

2021-02-08-Gerber-Complaint

PET FOOD LITIGATION (612) 339-6900

SIGNIFICANT COURT DOCUMENTS

2020-05-01
Champion Pet Foods Amended Complaint – Iowa

2020-04-24
Champion Pet Foods Amended Complaint – New York

2020-04-15
Champion Pet Foods Second Amended Complaint – Minnesota

2020-03-20
Champion Pet Foods Second Amended Complaint – Michigan

2019-10-04
Gravy Train Order regarding Motion to Dismiss

2019-05-29
Schwegmann v Hill’s Pet Nutrition Amended Complaint – KS

2019-04-09
Taste of the Wild Third Amended Complaint

2019-03-21
Taste of the Wild – Order regarding Motion to Dismiss

2019-02-28
Taste of the Wild Complaint – IL

2019-02-26
Hall v Hill’s Pet Nutrition Complaint – CA

2019-02-14
Champion First Amended Complaint – Illinois (cat food)

2019-02-06
Champion Pet Foods – Second Amended Complaint Illinois

2018-11-14
Champion Pet Foods Amended Complaint – Washington

2018-11-12
Champion Pet Food Amended Complaint – Illinois

2018-10-26
Champion Pet Foods Complaint – Washington

2018-10-19
Champion Pet Foods Complaint – Michigan

2018-10-18
Taste of the Wild Second Amended Class Action Complaint (Gros…

2018-10-17
Champion Pet Foods Complaint – MN State Court

2018-10-16
Champion Pet Foods Complaint – New York

2018-10-16
Champion Pet Foods Complaint – Illinois

2018-09-05
Taste of the Wild AMENDED Complaint (Grossman and Classick v …

2018-08-28
Taste of the Wild Complaint (Grossman v Schell & Lampeter, In…

2018-07-02
Wellness Second Amended Complaint Concerning Heavy Metals and…

2018-06-22
Champion Pet Foods Complaint regarding Cat Food

2018-06-14
Big Heart Pet Brands Amended Consolidated Complaint

2018-05-01
Big Heart Pet Brands Master Consolidated Complaint

2018-03-16
Gravy Train Complaint concerning euthanasia drugs (Williamson, et al. v Big Heart Pet Brands)

2018-03-07
Gravy Train Complaint concerning euthanasia drugs (Sebastiano v Big Heart Pet Brands)

2018-02-09
Gravy Train Complaint concerning euthanasia drugs (Sturm v Big Heart Pet Brands)

2018-02-09
Gravy Train Complaint concerning euthanasia drugs (Mullins v Big Heart Pet Brands)

2018-01-18
Wellness Dog Food Order Granting In Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss Complaint (Daniel Zeiger et al. v WellPetLLC, et al.)

2017-11-20
Nutrish Dog Food Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Christina Grimm v APN Inc., et al.)

2017-10-26
Wellness First Amended Complaint Concerning Heavy Metals and BPA Contaminants (Daniel Zeigler et al. v. WellPet LLC, et al.)

2017-10-02
Nutrish Second Amended Complaint Concerning Misleading Natural Labeling (Grimm v. APN, Inc. et al.)

2017-08-31
Nutrish Dog Food Order Denying Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (Christina Grimm v APN Inc., et al.)

ZYTIGA® ANTITRUST LITIGATION, LOUISIANA HEALTH SERVICE & INDEMNITY CO

ET AL. V. JANSSEN BIOTECH, INC., ET AL., CASE NO. 19-CV-14146 (D.N.J.)

LGN represents end payor plaintiffs who allege an unlawful scheme by defendants to prolong their monopoly in the market for Zytiga® (abiraterone acetate), a drug used to treat patients with prostate cancer. LGN seeks to recover damages for a proposed class of end payors who purchased Zytiga® indirectly from defendants beginning December 13, 2016 through the present. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey before the Honorable James B. Clark.

ZETIA (EZETIMIBE) ANTITRUST LITIGATION

CASE NO. 18-MD-02836 (E.D. VA.)

LGN represents end payor plaintiffs who purchased, paid for, and/or provided reimbursement for Zetia, a blockbuster cholesterol drug that counteracts plaque development in arteries. This action is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Virginia before the Honorable Rebecca Beach Smith.

WHEAT ANTITRUST LITIGATION, PLOSS ET AL. V. KRAFT FOODS GROUP, INC. AND MONDELEZ GLOBAL LLC

CASE NO. 1:15-CV-02937 (N.D. ILL.)

LGN represents plaintiffs who allege that Kraft Foods and Mondelez Global manipulated cash wheat prices and wheat futures contracts. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois certified the plaintiff class in January 2020.  The case is pending before the Honorable John F. Ness and is proceeding toward trial.

SEROQUEL XR (EXTENDED RELEASE QUETIAPINE FUMARATE) LITIGATION

CASE NO. 19-CV-08296 (S.D.N.Y.)

LGN represents end payor plaintiffs who allege that a drug company entered into unlawful agreements with two other drug companies not to compete in the market for Seroquel XR and corresponding generic versions.  This action is pending in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York before the Honorable Colleen McMahon.