Last Updated Oct 14, 2009 10:40 AM EDT
It's true that dairy farmers have not been faring well, with prices falling below the cost of production for many farmers, while Dean Foods has been profiting from the low prices. But many industries are in trouble right now, and it remains to be seen whether Dean is responsible for this particular crisis, and whether monopoly power can be proven.
Dean Foods achieved its massive size in 2001, when it merged with Suiza Foods, and the crisis is much more recent than that. In fact, a couple of years ago, milk prices were at record highs.
The lawsuit isn't the first call for an investigation into the issue; in August, senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice saying that Dean controls 70 of the milk market in New England and an even higher percentage in a few other states.
Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America say the claims are entirely without merit, obviously, because to say anything else in an antitrust case would be idiotic.