Food Lion Says Dismissal of Dairy Antitrust Lawsuit Would “Turn the Clayton Act on its Head”

Food Lion responded to a motion to dismiss the dairy antitrust lawsuit the company filed against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) saying DFA confuses legal standards and ignores Supreme Court Precedent. The company claimed that the arguments in the defendant’s motion for dismissal “badly confuses the relevant legal standard” at issue.

“The inescapable reality is that the Clayton Act was designed for precisely this situation, and the only way to resolve the issues presented by DFA is through a trial on the merits,” the motion stated.

The plaintiff said the arguments brought in the motion to dismiss were “manufactured only recently” and should not be resolved by dismissal. “DFA conjures up a new argument not previously mentioned in its papers or at the hearing—antitrust injury—as a way to insulate the Asset Sale from antitrust scrutiny,” Food Lion claimed.

Food Lion LLC, along with Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, filed the lawsuit in May 2020 claiming that DFA participated in a “continuing course of anti-competitive conduct” and specifically stating that its purchase of three Dean Foods processing plants in North and South Carolina would harm the plaintiffs by eliminating competition for milk.

The motion to dismiss claimed that the plaintiffs only allege “ highly speculative future injury” in a narrow geographic market, and said the defendants’ argument does not support their claims of anticompetitive behavior.

Food Lion is represented by Hunton Andrews Kurth, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association is represented by Troutman Sanders, and DFA is represented by Womble Bond Dickinson.

The United States of America, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin also filed an antitrust lawsuit against DFA after its purchase of Dean Foods’ processing facilities which is still ongoing.