A preliminary settlement has been reached and was announced this morning in the Southeast Milk Antitrust Litigation trial in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.
A civil trial scheduled to begin Wednesday and last up to eight weeks is off.
Instead, Judge J. Ronnie Greer will hold a “Fairness Hearing” on April 3 to consider final approval to the settlement.
The complex case has taken a number of unexpected turns since the class action lawsuit was filed in July 2007.
At trial, dairy farmers from across the Southeast hoped to prove what they maintained was a conspiracy to drive down the price they were paid for milk.
With an a preliminary agreement in place, “the trial is off the calendar,” said Rick Tipton, division manager of the U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office in Greeneville.
“We consider it settled and there won’t be a trial,” Tipton said.
An order today by Greer grants the dairy farmer plaintiffs’ motion for expedited preliminary approval of the proposed settlement with defendants Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA), Dairy Marketing Services, LLC; Mid-Am Capital, LLC; National Dairy Holdings, LP; and Gary Hanman, former chief executive officer of DFA.
Read more information in today's Greeneville Sun.