Fresh Milk Products Price-Fixing Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
Ah price fixing. A good old business tactic that goes back to the beginning of history. Generally it happens when competitors who control a significant portion of the market work together to ensure higher prices. Apparently this happened around 2011 in the milk industry. Instead of flooding the market with cheap delicious milk, dairy producers allegedly slaughtered 500,000 cows prematurely in order to keep milk prices up.
In 2011 the Fresh Milk Products Price-Fixing Class Action Lawsuit was filed accusing several milk producers of using this tactic. While the defendants in the case deny any wrongdoing, a $52 million settlement has been reached.
Here is how it works:
Individuals and entities who, as residents of Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin, during the period of 2003 to the present, purchased milk or other fresh milk products (including cream, half & half, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream) for their own use and not for resale.
Since I’m pretty sure just about everyone purchased milk, most people in those states should qualify. Here is how the settlement will work:
The settlement provides for $52 million in recovery for the class. You can submit a simple online claim form opting for cash, with no proof of purchase required. If final approval is granted to the settlement, Class members who have filed valid and timely claims will receive cash payments distributed directly into an online account of their choosing. There will be two different levels of fixed cash payments, based on class member’s purchases and the total number of class members making claims. Any class member whose claim form identifies it as purchasing milk and fresh milk products in an amount that exceeds normal household purchases will receive the higher fixed amount. For example, the regular fixed amount may be $30, or it may be higher or lower depending on the numbers of all class members making claims, with the higher fixed cash payment above that amount. Any remaining funds may be distributed in a second round using grocery loyalty cards to be automatically loaded with a fixed dollar amount, based on triggering purchases of milk or fresh milk products in the relevant states, or, depending on the funds remaining, distributed to the Attorneys General for the class jurisdictions for use in prosecuting consumer antitrust claims. Under no circumstances will the money go back to the defendants.
File A Claim
This settlement has been around awhile, but I just found out about it and the deadline to file a claim is coming soon. You can find answers to more questions along with the very simply claim form on the Settlement website. The deadline to file is January 31, 2017.