(10:31 AM) Northeast Dairy Farmers Paid, Finally, In Class Action Lawsuit

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Nearly nine years after Northeast dairy farmers filed a class-action lawsuit against a national dairy marketing cooperative, thousands of farmers are receiving their checks in the $50 million settlement.

Dairy farmers of America this week paid an average of $4,000 to nearly 9,000 farms to settle a lawsuit that accused the marketing group of trying to drive down milk prices.

The 2009 class-action lawsuit charged Dairy Farmers of America; its marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services; and Dallas-based Dean Foods with working together to monopolize the market for raw milk in the Northeast.

Dean Foods agreed to a separate $30 million settlement in 2011.

The deals covered farmers in Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.