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    Judge Throws Out Milk Price Suit

    CHICAGO - Saying that the grocery chains "have competed, not conspired," a Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that Jewel Food Stores and Dominick's did not fix the price of milk at artificially high prices.

    CHICAGO - Saying that the grocery chains "have competed, not conspired," a Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that Jewel Food Stores and Dominick's did not fix the price of milk at artificially high prices.

    After more than three weeks of trial, Judge John Morrissey dismissed the lawsuit immediately following the plaintiffs' case on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to prove the existence of the alleged price-fixing conspiracy.

    Morrissey wrote that if consumers felt Jewel and Dominick's overcharged for milk, they could shop elsewhere, or even boycott the stores.

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs, who were representatives of a class of consumers who purchased milk from Jewel and Dominick's in a nine-county metropolitan Chicago area between August 1996 and August 2000, filed the lawsuit in August 2000. They were seeking between $52 and $125 million in damages, before trebling, on behalf of the class.

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