How is it already the middle of June? Time flies when you are having fun, I suppose! I’ve been on the road as usual and have made stops for programs in Lufkin, Goldthwaite, and Denton over the last couple of weeks. It was great getting the chance to meet some new folks in person and I’d like to welcome all new readers to the blog.
Here are some ag law stories in the news recently.
* First Syngenta class action trial begins in Kansas City. The first class action lawsuit against Syngenta, this one involving a class of Kansas farmers, has begun in Kansas City. The claim at issue in this case is whether Syngenta was negligent under Kansas law. The trial is ongoing at this time. [Read article here.]
* “Pink slime” defamation trial underway in South Dakota. A trial involving defamation claims lodged by a South Dakota meat producer against ABC News for referring to lean, finely textured beef as “pink slime” is underway. The plaintiffs allege that the news coverage led people to believe that the product was unsafe, unhealthy, and not really beef. They claim these reports nearly put the company out of business. The plaintiffs are seeking up to $1.9 billion in damages in the trial, which will likely last over a month. [Read article here.]
* United States Supreme Court denies review of California egg lawsuit. You may recall that back in 2010, California passed a law requiring that all eggs sold in the state must come from farms that comply with the animal welfare production standards in California. Several egg producing states (MO, AL, IA, KY, NE, OK) filed suit (Missouri ex rel Hawley v. Becerra.) claiming that the law was an unconstitutional violation of the dormant commerce clause. The states argued that this law would result in increases in operating costs to their egg producers. The lower courts dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiff states lacked standing to bring suit against the law. Essentially, the court found that there was no true state interest or damage due to the laws, apart from the individual farmer interest, for which the farmers could file suit if they wanted to do so. The United States Supreme Court will not hear the case on appeal. This means the 9th Circuit decision stands. [Read article here.]
* North Carolina lawmakers amend Right to Farm law, overriding Governor’s veto. Under the new law, damages awarded to a plaintiff for a private nuisance where the nuisance originates from an ag or forestry operation are limited. For a permanent nuisance, compensatory damages will be measured by reduction in fair market value and capped at the fair market value of the land. For a temporary nuisance, damages will be based on the fair rental value of the plaintiff’s property. [Read article here.]
* The National Dairy Farmers FARM program seeks input. The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program is seeking survey feedback from producers to learn about how the program can continue to improve the resources available to dairy farmers. Producers may participate in the online survey by clicking here. [Read article here.]