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


ANNOUNCEMENT: Mark your calendar for the next Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar, Tuesday, January 16th: “The New Deal: Understanding and Negotiating Dairy Supply Contracts.” Details available here.


JUDICIAL: Includes ag lease, food labeling, and agritourism issues.

In UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff v. VANTAGE TRUST FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, f/k/a WILKES- BARRE VA EMPLOYEES CREDIT UNION, Defendant, No. 3:17-CV-0348, 2018 WL 306920 (M.D. Pa. January 5, 2018), government sued to remove the defendant from federal land which it occupied for free under a revocable license it was granted “alleging that the license was revocable at the instance of the United States, i.e., licensor, and that the license expired.” Defendant argued breach of contract by the government based on the terms of the lease, but plaintiff argued that no written document existed regarding a renewal term and claimed it received no “adequate consideration for the renewal term.” Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendant’s counterclaims granted.

In SIERA STRUMLAUF, ET AL., Plaintiffs, v. STARBUCKS CORPORATION, Defendant, NO. 16-cv-01306-YGR, 2018 WL 306715 (N.D. Cal. January 5, 2018), plaintiff alleged defendant “uniformly underfills its lattes” and sued claiming breach of express warranty and false advertising. To support its claim, plaintiff argued the “foam added to the top of Starbucks Lattes does not count toward the volume of its beverages because foam is not measured on a volumetric basis.” Court concluded that “no reasonable consumer would be deceived into believing that Lattes which are made up of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam contain the Promised Beverage Volume excluding milk foam.” Summary judgment for defendant.

In Teresa BRIGANCE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. VAIL SUMMIT RESORTS, INC., Defendant-Appellee, No. 17-1035, 2018 WL 314942 (10th Cir. January 8, 2018), plaintiff injured her foot on defendant’s ski lift and alleged negligence and violation of the Colorado Premises Liability Act. Lower court found the waiver plaintiff signed “before participating in her ski lesson, as well as the waiver contained on the back of her lift ticket, are enforceable and bar her claims against VSRI.” Appellate court considered the language of the waiver signed by plaintiff and concluded that the “relevant release language of the Ski School Waiver and Lift Ticket Waiver cannot be reasonably understood as expressing anything other than an intent to release or bar suit against [defendant].”


LEGISLATIVE: 

H.R. 424: Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017. Bill’s text for status Reported by House Committee (Jan 8, 2018) is now available.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA,  FWS, FDA, FSIS, ITA, NOAA and RBCS rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a revision to the Nevada State Implementation Plan. Info here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the November 14, 2017 direct final rule approving a State Implementation Plan revision submitted by the State of Rhode Island. Details here.

Rule EPA is taking direct final action to approve revisions to the State of Oklahoma’s Underground Storage Tank program submitted by the State. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a revision to the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. Details here.

Rule EPA is making an interim final determination that the State of Arizona has corrected a deficiency in its Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) state implementation plan (SIP) provisions concerning air permitting. Info here.

Rule EPA is amending the North Carolina State Implementation Plan (SIP) to remove some provisions made effective through the direct final rule that was published on July 18, 2017. Details here.

Rule EPA is promulgating this final rule to adjust the level of statutory civil monetary penalty amounts under the statutes EPA administers. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Rule FWS wants to remove the Monito gecko from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife due to recovery. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA announces a proposed collection of information has been submitted for review. Title: Extralabel Drug Use in Animals. Details here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE: Notice FSIS is announcing the 2018 rates it will charge meat and poultry establishments, egg products plants, and importers and exporters for providing voluntary, overtime, and holiday inspection and identification, certification, and laboratory services. Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice ITA published the Preliminary Rescission and Preliminary Results of the aligned 2015-2016 new shipper review and 2015-2016 administrative review of the antidumping duty order on honey from China. There are no changes for the final results of these reviews. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS issues this proposed rule to amend the regulations governing the fisheries for Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) off the West coast to include annual catch limits under the CPS Fishery Management Plan. Info here.

Notice announces the availability of the Southern Distinct Population Segment of Green Sturgeon Draft Recovery Plan for public review. Details here.

Notice NOAA is announcing a thirty-day public comment period for the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision. Pursuant to 15 CFR 921.33(c), the revised plan will bring the reserve into compliance. Info here.

RURAL BUSINESS-COOPERATIVE SERVICE: Notice to improve applicants’ awareness of the Guarantee Fee rates for Guaranteed Loans for fiscal year (FY) 2018, Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for FY 2018, Annual Renewal Fee for FY 2018 when applying for guaranteed loans under the Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program. Details here.