First Impressions Salon, Inc., et al. v. National Milk Producers Federation, et al., Case No. 3:13-CV-00454-NJR-SCW

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why was the Notice issued?

    A Court has established, or “Certified,” this case as a class action lawsuit.

    If you are a Class Member, you have legal rights and options before the Court decides whether the claims being made on your behalf are correct. The Notice explains all of these things.

    Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (the “Court”), is currently overseeing this case. The case is known as First Impressions Salon, Inc., et al. v. National Milk Producers Federation, et al., Case No. 3:13-CV-00454-NJR-SCW. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. The companies they sued, National Milk Producers Federation, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., Land O’Lakes, Inc., and Agri-Mark, Inc., are called the Defendants.

    Click here to review a copy of the Notice.

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  2. What is a class action?

    In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, First Impressions Salon, Inc., Roy Mattson, KPH Healthcare Services d/b/a Kinney Drugs, Inc., and Piggly Wiggly Midwest, LLC) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

    The Court decided that a claim in this lawsuit, for alleged violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §1, can proceed as a class action. More information about why the Court is allowing this claim to proceed as a class action is in the Court’s Order Granting Class Certification which is available here.

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  3. What is this lawsuit about?

    In the Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint (the “Complaint”, available here), Plaintiffs claim that from December 6, 2008, through July 31, 2013, Defendants violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §1, and conspired and combined to limit the production of raw farm milk through premature “herd retirements” that required participating dairy farmers to remove all of the dairy cows in their herds and, beginning on April 1, 2009, forego a 10% incentive payment if they wished to reenter the dairy farming business within one year. The Complaint alleges that the principal purpose and effect of this contract, combination, and conspiracy has been to eliminate competition, significantly reduce the number of dairy farmers competing in the market, and produce both short-term and long-term increases in the prices of butter and cheese. Defendants deny these claims.

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  4. What are the Plaintiffs asking for?

    The Plaintiffs are asking the Court for:

    • A money judgement for the damages sustained by Plaintiffs and the Class, and for any additional damages, penalties, and other monetary relief provided by applicable law, including treble damages;
    • Any pre-judgment interest on money damages that may be ordered;
    • The costs of this lawsuit, including reasonable attorney fees; and
    • Any other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

    More information about the lawsuit is in the Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, which you may view here.

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  5. What do the Defendants say?

    The Defendants have denied all of these allegations, say they did nothing wrong or illegal, and that they are not obligated to pay any money to any Class Members.

    More information about what the Defendants say is in the Defendants’ Joint Answer to Plaintiffs’ Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, which you may view here.

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  6. Has the Court decided who is right?

    No. The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiffs or Defendants are right. The Plaintiffs must prove their case at trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

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  7. How do I know if I am part of this?

    The Court has decided that everyone who fits the following description is a Class Member:

    1. All persons and entities in the United States that purchased butter directly from one or more Members of Defendant, Cooperatives Working Together and/or their subsidiaries, during the period from December 6, 2008, to July 31, 2013; and
    2. All persons and entities in the United States that purchased cheese directly from one or more Members of Defendant, Cooperatives Working Together and/or their subsidiaries, during the period from December 6, 2008, to July 31, 2013.
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  8. Who are the “Members” of the cooperative?

    The “Members” are the CWT members listed as follows:

    Agri-Mark, Inc. Arkansas Dairy Cooperative AssociationAssociated Milk Producers Inc.
    Bongards CreameriesBurke Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc.California Dairies Inc.
    Cass-Clay Creamery Inc.Champlain Milk Producers CooperativeConesus Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.
    Continental Dairy Products, Inc.Cooperative Milk Producers Association, Inc.Cortland Bulk Milk Producers Cooperative
    Dairy Farmers of AmericaDairylea Cooperative Inc.Dairymen's Marketing Cooperative Inc.
    Ellsworth Cooperative CreameryEmpire Keystone CooperativeFarmers Cooperative Creamery
    First District Cooperative AssociationForemost Farms USAHumboldt Creamery Association
    Jefferson Bulk Milk Cooperative, Inc.Just Jersey Cooperative, Inc.Land O'Lakes, Inc.
    Lone Star Milk ProducersLowville Producers Dairy CooperativeMagic Valley Quality Milk Producers, Inc.
    Manitowoc Milk Producers CooperativeMaryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative AssociationMassachusetts Coop. Milk Producers Fed. Inc.
    Michigan Milk Producers AssociationMid-West Dairymen's Co.Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association
    National Farmers OrganizationNorth Lawrence Producers Cooperative, Inc.Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold)
    Oneida-Madison Milk Producers CooperativePrairie Farms DairyPreble Cooperative, River Valley Milk Producers Inc.
    Schoharie County Cooperative DairiesSeaway Bulk Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc.Security Milk Producers Association
    Select Milk Producers, Inc.Snake River Dairymen's AssociationSouth New Berlin Milk Cooperative, Inc.
    Southeast Milk, Inc.St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc.Swiss Valley Farms, Co.
    Tillamook County Creamery AssociationUnited Dairy Cooperative Services, Inc.United Dairymen of Arizona
    Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.Utah Dairy Farmers CooperativeWestern Tier Milk Producers Cooperative
    Zia Milk Producers Inc.  
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  9. How can I be sure I bought butter or cheese from a defendant?

    In order to be a Class Member, you must have bought butter and/or cheese directly from one of the CWT members listed in FAQ 8.

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  10. If I bought butter or cheese just for myself, could I be a class member?

    Yes. Though most Class Members are larger entities, some butter and cheese products were sold at co-op stores directly to individual consumers. Click here to see a list of those stores and their locations.

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  11. What if I’m still not sure if I am included in the Class?

    If you are still not sure whether you are included in the Class, you can call the toll-free number 1-855-804-8574, or write to Class Action Administrator, P.O. Box 4290, Portland, OR 97208-4290 for more information.

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  12. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will stay in the Class. If you stay in, you will be legally bound by all of the decisions that the Court makes, and if the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits, you may be entitled to a share. Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, however, you will never be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants on your own concerning the legal claims in this case.

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  13. How do I request to be excluded?

    To exclude yourself, you must send a letter with the following information:

    • Name and address;
    • A statement that you wish to be excluded from the Class in First Impressions Salon, Inc., et al. v. National Milk Producers Federation, et al., Case No. 3:13-CV-00454-NJR-SCW; and
    • Your signature.

    You must mail your Exclusion Request postmarked by July 30, 2018, to the following address:

    Butter and Cheese Exclusions
    P.O. Box 4290
    Portland, OR 97208-4290

    If you exclude yourself from the Class, and the Class obtains any money or benefits, you will not be eligible to claim any of that money or those benefits. You also will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments if you exclude yourself. This means that you will be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants on your own about the legal claims that are involved in this case, now or in the future, assuming your claims are not time-barred (you should consult your own attorney to make such a determination).

    You cannot exclude yourself by email, phone, or on this website.

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  14. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Yes. The Court appointed the following lawyers as Class Counsel to represent you: Don Barrett of Barrett Law Group, Lexington, Mississippi, Dianne M. Nast of NastLaw LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Michael L. Roberts of Roberts Law Firm, P.A., Little Rock, Arkansas. You do not have to pay Class Counsel out of your own pocket.

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  15. How will the lawyers be paid?

    If Class Counsel obtains money or benefits for the Class, they may ask the Court for fees and expenses. You will not have to pay these fees and expenses out of your own pocket. If the Court grants their request, the fees and expenses will either be deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by the Defendants.

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  16. May I get my own lawyer?

    If you are in the Class, you are not required to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But if you want your own lawyer, you are entitled to retain one at your own expense.

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  17. How and when will the Court decide who is right?

    If the case is not dismissed or settled, the Plaintiffs will have to prove their claims at a trial. The Court will set a date for a trial. During the trial, the judge or jury will hear evidence in order to determine whether the Plaintiffs or the Defendants are right about the claims in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win any money or benefits for the Class.

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  18. Do I have to come to the trial?

    You will not need to attend unless you choose to do so. You and/or your own lawyer are welcome to come, at your own expense. Check this website or call toll free at 1-855-804-8574 to be kept informed of the trial schedule.

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  19. Will I get money after the trial?

    If the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits as a result of the trial, you will be notified about how to submit a claim to participate. Information will also be posted on this website as it becomes available. This information is available to you whether you stay in the lawsuit or exclude yourself.

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  20. Are more details available?

    More information is available here, where you will find the Order Granting Class Certification, the Complaint that the Plaintiffs lodged, and the Defendants’ Joint Answer to Plaintiffs’ Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint. You may also call toll-free at 1-855-804-8574 or write to Class Action Administrator, P.O. Box 4290, Portland, OR 97208-4290.

    Do not contact any of the CWT Members for information regarding this lawsuit.

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