Welcome to our final Weekly Round Up post for April. How can it be May already? This week, I traveled to Canadian to present at the Hemphill County Beef Conference and then gave online presentations to groups in Kerrville and Cameron County. Welcome to those of you joining from those events!
Here are some ag law stories in the news this week.
*Judge gives preliminary approval to Syngenta settlement. Earlier this month, the federal judge presiding over the Syngenta class action litigation granted preliminary approval of the parties’ proposed settlement. The next step is for class notice to be sent to all class members, which will occur in May. Class members will have an opportunity to review the settlement and object to it before final settlement approval is given, which is expected in October of this year. [Read Order here.] I’ll have a more detailed blog post discussing the settlement and who is included coming soon.
*US Supreme Court seeks federal government input on egg production cases. Last week, the US Supreme Court sought input from the Solicitor General on Missouri v. California and Indiana v. Massachusetts, the egg production lawsuits pending before the High Court that we previously discussed here. [Read article here.]
*NC jury awards $50 million to neighbors of hog farm in nuisance lawsuit. A verdict from North Carolina is raising eyebrows in the ag law community. Yesterday, a federal jury found in favor of neighbors who complained that odor from the farm created a nuisance. The lawsuit was filed not against the farm owner, but against Smithfield Foods, who contracts with the farm owner to raise the pigs. Dozens of other lawsuits remain pending and are set to go to trial. [Read article here.] I will have a more detailed blog post looking at this trial and why the court decided the NC Right to Farm Act did not apply to protect the defendant coming soon.
* AR Supreme Court issues temporary restraining orders against farmers spraying dicamba. In what has been a story full of twists and turns each week, the Arkansas Supreme Court has now entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing some farmers from applying dicamba. Remember that the Arkansas Plant Board passed a rule prohibiting application of new dicamba formulations over the top of growing crops after April 15. Two judges, however, issued exemptions from that state-wide ban for a group of farmers involved in litigation with the Plant Board. Those orders would have allowed several farmers to continue spraying. The Supreme Court’s TRO stayed those lower court orders, meaning that for now, those farmers cannot make the application. A third order granting access to dicamba was issued in Clay County, but there has been no restraining order issued in that case as of yet. [Read articles here and here.]
* AALA offering free environmental and land use law update webinar. The American Agricultural Law Association will be hosting a webinar next week offering an update of the key cases and issues in environmental law for the last six months. Speakers include Jesse Richardson, Anthony Schutz, and Peggy Kirk Hall–all of whom are outstanding presenters! The webinar will be from 12-2 CST and is free! You can register here.
Programs Next Week
Don’t make lunch plans next Wednesday! My friend and WVU Law Professor Jesse Richardson and I will be doing a free webinar titled “Water Wars at the US Supreme Court: Why Should Agriculture Care?” It should be a really interesting discussion of several state v. state disputes over water currently pending in Washington DC. The webinar will be from 12-1 CST. No registration is required, just click here an join us on Wednesday!