Tentative settlement reached in milk price lawsuit

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2012, file photo, Jim Mitchell selects a gallon of milk at a Milwaukee grocery store. As the nation inches toward the economic �fiscal cliff,� anxiety is growing in farm country about a separate looming deadline, one that reaches into the dairy industry and, indirectly, into the household budgets of consumers who buy milk and cheese. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2012, file photo, Jim Mitchell selects a gallon of milk at a Milwaukee grocery store. As the nation inches toward the economic �fiscal cliff,� anxiety is growing in farm country about a separate looming deadline, one that reaches into the dairy industry and, indirectly, into the household budgets of consumers who buy milk and cheese. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde, File)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Southeastern dairy farmers have reached a tentative settlement with marketers in their lawsuit.

The Greeneville Sun reported Tuesday that the preliminary settlement heads off a civil trial that was to have begun Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

The farmers claimed there was a conspiracy to drive down the prices they received for milk. The lawsuit was filed in July 2007.

Division Manager Rick Tipton in the court clerk's office said the preliminary agreement takes the trial of the lawsuit off the calendar.

An order issued Tuesday by Judge Ronnie Greer grants the dairies' motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. Greer will conduct a hearing April 3 to consider final approval.

The lawsuit named as defendants four firms and one individual.


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