A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE


JUDICIAL: Includes labor, contract, and water law issues.

STEPHEN WILSON APPELLANT v. RICELAND FOODS, INC., AND ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES, No. CV-17-410, 2017 Ark. App. 653 (Ark Ct. App. November 29, 2017) involved a workers’ compensation claim in which appellant injured himself when he tripped and fell off a rice pod at work. Appellant took issue with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission’s (Commission) determination that “he was not entitled to permanent partial-disability benefits in excess of the percentage of his permanent physical impairment.” Commission determined appellant was not entitled to “additional wage-loss benefits” because he was given a raise upon his return to work. Appellate court was persuaded by evidence that appellant received a raise and was able to work a “substantial amount of overtime,” and affirmed decision of lower court.

MINSA CORPORATION, APPELLANT v. SFTC, LLC D/B/A SANTA FE TORTILLA COMPANY, APPELLEE, No. 07-16-00001-CV, 2017 WL 5778463 (Tex. Ct. App. November 28, 2017) concerned a dispute involving a corn flour manufacturer regarding the quality of white corn flour purchased by appellee (SFTC) from appellant (Minsa). On appeal, Minsa argued there was no evidence of causation between the alleged breach of warranty and SFTC’s claimed damages because it required expert testimony. Regarding the issue of expert testimony, the appellate court observed that “the commercial production and distribution of tortillas is a complex business involving microbiology, chemical preservatives, specialized equipment, and proper packaging and distribution that requires expert testimony.” The court concluded that SFTC “failed to offer any evidence that Minsa’s Excel 30ES white corn flour was the sole proximate cause of its defective tortillas or any breach of warranty.” Reversed in part.

In DANIEL PASLAY, an individual; GARY OTTMAN, an individual; and TATEOKA BROTHERS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. A&B IRRIGATION DISTRICT, an Idaho irrigation district, Defendant-Respondent, No. 44446, 2017 WL 5761219 (Idaho November 29, 2017), plaintiffs (landowners) sued regarding their constitutional water and property rights after an irrigation district diverted part of their water source to other landowners in the district. District court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims and plaintiffs appealed, alleging a potential dilution of their available water supply as a result of defendant’s actions. Defendants argued that “surface water supplies are variable from one season to the next,” making plaintiffs’ claims speculative. Appellate court agreed and found that plaintiffs “simply have not alleged a current or future harm, merely the fear of one if the District abuses its discretion and mismanages water resources outside the boundaries of the law.”


REGULATORY: includes AMS, USDA, EPA, FWS, FDA, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule would implement a recommendation from the Far West Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee to revise the quantity of Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year, which began on June 1, 2017. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: County Committee Election. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Rule Region 1 is publishing a direct final Notice of Deletion of the Hatheway & Patterson Superfund Site (Site), located in Mansfield and Foxborough, Massachusetts, from the National Priorities List (NPL). Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Notice FWS received an application from Orange County Waste & Recycling for a 5-year incidental take permit for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

Notice FWS received an application from the Lalamilo Wind Company, LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA announces a forthcoming public advisory committee meeting of the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS issues regulations to implement the measures described in Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council. Details here.

Notice NMFS solicits nominations for the “SEDAR Pool,” also known as the Advisory Panel for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) Workshops. Details here.

Notice NMFS has received a request from the National Park Service (NPS) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to glaucous-winged gull and climate monitoring research activities in Glacier Bay National Park (GLBA NP), Alaska. Info here.