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May 1, 2002

USA: Supreme Court blocks farmers’ case against cheese companies

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled yesterday [Tuesday] that eight local farmers can not sue a group of cheese companies over alleged manipulation of cheese prices in order to drive down the cost of raw milk. Farmers James Servais, Douglas Pierce, William R. Dobson, Roger Noll, Rita Noll, Byron Krueger, Melvin Schmitz and Roger Swanson claimed that during the late 1980s and early 1990s, several cheese giants deliberately manipulated cheese milk prices at the Green Bay-based National Cheese Exchange. They named Kraft Foods, Borden Inc and Alpine Lace Brands among the perpetrators in the fraud, which engendered a drop in milk prices because milk-marketing rules by the USDA say that the two commodities’ prices are linked.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled yesterday [Tuesday] that eight local farmers can not sue a group of cheese companies over alleged manipulation of cheese prices in order to drive down the cost of raw milk.

Farmers James Servais, Douglas Pierce, William R. Dobson, Roger Noll, Rita Noll, Byron Krueger, Melvin Schmitz and Roger Swanson claimed that during the late 1980s and early 1990s, several cheese giants deliberately manipulated cheese milk prices at the Green Bay-based National Cheese Exchange. They named Kraft Foods, Borden Inc and Alpine Lace Brands among the perpetrators in the fraud, which engendered a drop in milk prices because milk-marketing rules by the USDA say that the two commodities’ prices are linked.
 
The latest decision by six justices means that the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeals last June was upheld.

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