Are you a California resident? Bought any dairy products since 2003?

You could be awarded money from a nationwide class action lawsuit settlement with the nation's largest dairy producers, over a price fixing scheme to inflate the cost of milk by prematurely slaughtering cattle.

A Berkeley-based law firm filed the lawsuit against a group of big players in the dairy industry -- including National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Agri-Mark, Inc. and Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) -- back in 2011.

Plaintiffs allege that between 2003 and 2010, more than 500,000 cows were slaughtered early under CWT’s dairy "herd retirement program" to reduce the supply of milk and ultimately inflate its cost to consumers nationally. Members of CWT earned an additional $9 billion in revenue thanks to the price fixings, according to the complaint.

In their settlement agreement, the National Milk Producers Federation and CWT admitted no wrongdoing.

Dependents in the case reached case reached a $52 million settlement in September and dairy consumers who qualify for a cut of the cash have until January 31, 2017 to file their claim.

Class members who file a claim online (at or by mail could get around $30, depending on the number of total claims made and the amount of milk products your household purchases.

Residents from more than a dozen states (including California) and the District of Columbia can qualify as a class member in the lawsuit, if they have purchased milk or fresh milk products (including cream, half and half, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese or sour cream) from 2003 to present.

You don't need a receipt, but you must have purchased the product from a retailer -- not directly form the defendant.

The dairy product also must have been purchased for yourself or household. Government entities and those charging for milk, or for meals including milk, are not eligible.