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Carlin v. DairyAmerica

May 29, 2009

GERALD CARLIN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DAIRYAMERICA, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE RELATED ACTIONS AND APPOINTING INTERIM CLASS AND LIAISON COUNSEL (Document 10)

On April 15, 2009, Plaintiffs Gerald Carlin, John Rahm, Paul Rozwadowski and Bryan Wolfe, individually and on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated ("Plaintiffs"), field the instant motion to consolidate cases and appoint Interim Class and Liaison Counsel. Pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h), the Court deemed the matter suitable for decision without oral argument.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 6, 2009, Plaintiffs filed the instant class action against Defendants DairyAmerica, Inc., and California Dairies, Inc. ("Defendants"). The action is proceeding on the First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), filed on April 3, 2009, and based on allegations that Defendants negligently and incorrectly reported nonfat dry milk prices to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Plaintiffs allege that this egregious misreporting, which was used to set formulas that factor into dairy product pricing, resulted in artificially-depressed raw milk prices and unfairly deprived American dairy farmers of millions of dollars.

The FAC alleges causes of action for (1) negligent misrepresentation; (2) negligent interference with prospective economic advantage; (3) unlawful business practices in violation of California Business and Professions Code section 17200, et seq.; and (4) unjust enrichment. The FAC defines the class as follows:

All dairy farmers located in the United States who sold raw milk that was priced according to a Federal Milk Marketing Order during the period January 1, 2002 through April 30, 2007.

FAC, ¶ 27.

Plaintiffs are represented by the law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll ("Cohen Milstein") and Berman DeValerio.

PLAINTIFFS' MOTION

Plaintiffs filed the instant motion on April 15, 2009, and seek to (1) consolidate the related actions (1:09cv0556 AWI DLB, 1:09cv0558 AWI DLB and 1:09cv0607 AWI DLB); (2) appoint Cohen Milstein as Interim Class Counsel; (3) appoint Berman DeValerio and Keller Rohrback to serve on an Interim Executive Committee to assist Interim Class Counsel; and (4) appoint Berman DeValerio as Interim Liaison Counsel.*fn1

All parties agree to consolidate the actions for all purposes. The sole dispute revolves around Plaintiffs' proposed leadership structure. Cohen Milstein seeks to be appointed as the sole Interim Class Counsel, while Hagen Berman seeks to be Co-Lead Counsel. Defendants' oppositions, filed on May 5 and May 7, take no position on the appropriateness of appointing Cohen Milstein as Interim Class Counsel or on the need for an Interim Executive Committee or Interim Liaison Counsel.

On May 5, 2009, Plaintiffs Ronald Hayak (1:09cv0556 AWI DLB) and James Rehberg (1:09cv0559 AWI DLB), both represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro ("Hagens Berman"), filed their oppositions.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion to ...


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