(DALLAS) -- Dean Foods has reached a settlement of $140 million with farmers in the south east who had filed a lawsuit claiming unfair practices by the Dallas-based company.
Local farmers in several south eastern states brought the suit against Dean Foods, Dairy Farmers of America and others saying they colluded with each other to not compete in buying milk from the farmers resulting in falling prices.
The settlement is pending approval in a Tennessee District Court. In a statement, officials at Dean Foods said the money would be distributed through a fund over four years or five years.
"We continue to be confident that we have operated lawfully and fairly at all times in the Southeast," said Gregg Engles, Dean Foods Chairman and CEO. "Settling this case allows us to focus on the business challenges that we face, and to continue to take costs out of our operations while avoiding the expense, uncertainty and distraction of a protracted litigation and the likelihood of a lengthy appeals process."
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