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Judge To Hear $30M Anti-Trust Case Against Dean

The class-action lawsuit would force Dean Foods Co. to pay Northeast farmers and their attorneys for monopolizing the milk market in the area.

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A federal judge in Vermont is holding a fairness hearing on a settlement that would require dairy processor Dean Foods Co. to pay Northeast farmers and their attorneys $30 million to settle antitrust allegations in a class-action lawsuit.

The hearing on Monday in Burlington will determine whether the settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate."

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss granted preliminary approval to the settlement in May.

Farmers will have a chance to object to it on Monday.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit that accused Dean Foods; the cooperate Dairy Farmers of America; and the cooperative's marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services, of working together to monopolize the market for raw milk in the Northeast, resulting in lower prices paid to dairy farmers.

Dean does not admit any wrongdoing.

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