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Wholesale grocers, potato growers settle lawsuit for $25 million

A federal judge has signed off on a $25 million settlement in a lawsuit between wholesale grocers and farming associations accused of forming a price-fixing cartel.

A group of wholesale grocers filed the class-action lawsuit in 2010, contending potato growers in Idaho and elsewhere conspired to raise prices by restricting the number of acres planted and taking other steps to limit production.

They say such moves raised the cost of a 10-pound bag of potatoes from about $9 in 2007 to roughly $15 in 2008.

United Potato Growers of America and the other defendants denied the claims, saying they were running a smart cooperative.

After years of litigation, both sides agreed to the settlement.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill, of Idaho, gave preliminary approval to the deal Wednesday.

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