Northeastern dairy farmers have filed a class action antitrust lawsuit against the Dairy Farmers of America and Dean Foods, the Texas-based parent company of Franklin's Garelick Farms, according to the law firm representing the farmers.
According to Benjamin Brown, an attorney with the firm of Cohen Milstein, a class action law firm based in Washington, D.C., representing the complainants, the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt. It accuses DFA and Dean of monopolizing the distribution of milk in the Northeast.
The suit also names Dairy Marketing Services and HP Hood for helping DFA and Dean monopolize the milk market.
Dairy farmers claim that they are forced to join DFA or DMS or go out of business. DFA, DMS and Dean force farmers to lower the prices they receive for milk and to join DFA or DMS in order to have access to bottling plants.
Through their agreements with Dean and Hood, the DFA and DMS supply virtually all the Grade A milk bottled in the Northeast by Hood and Dean, shutting out smaller dairy operations that can't afford to lower prices in order to compete.