Court Reinstates Antitrust Suit Against Dean Foods

TRAVIS LOLLER | Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) – A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit that claims Dean Foods conspired with another milk processor and a dairy cooperative to reduce competition in the milk industry.

Dean Foods and Suiza Foods were the country's two largest processed milk bottlers when they merged in 2001. The Department of Justice allowed the merger with certain conditions that were intended to ensure competition in the industry.

The suit claims that Dean Foods, National Dairy Holdings and Dairy Farmers of America have conspired to undermine that competition. It was filed by retailers Food Lion and Fidel Breto, who say the conspiracy has made processed milk more expensive.

The U.S. District Court in Greeneville dismissed the suit in 2012. On Friday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that judgment.

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