A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!


JUDICIAL: Includes food safety, agritourism, and environmental law issues. 

SHAWN F. BYRNE, and AMANDA E. BYRNE, Plaintiffs, v. TACO BELL OF AMERICA, LLC, a Delaware corporation, and TACO BELL OF AMERICA, INC., Defendants, No. CIV-17-361-R, 2017 WL 2266900 (W.D. Okla. May 23, 2017) concerned food safety as a  police officer was allegedly served contaminated food by employees at a Taco Bell and he sued for negligence. Taco Bell moved to dismiss arguing plaintiff failed to plead “causal connection between his injuries and the actions of Taco Bell.” Court observed that, “Under Oklahoma law, an injured person may recover from a food supplier in negligence for injuries sustained by consuming tainted or unadulterated foods.” After considering the facts, court determined that “cologne or chipotle sauce could have ended up on the food through an employee’s gross negligence.” Defendant’s motion to dismiss denied in part.

In In re: KURT D. SCADDEN, ENID P. SCADDEN, DEBTORS, No. 17-10089-7, 2017 WL 2242867 (Bankr. D. Kan. May 22, 2017), debtors own a bed and breakfast financed by bank. Bank foreclosed and parties agreed to sell the business’s real and personal property. Sale was cancelled when debtors filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debtors motioned to convert to Chapter 13 bankruptcy and defendants objected, arguing motion was made in bad faith because the business “had been run as a corporation, but the Debtors listed its assets as their own in their bankruptcy schedules.” Per the court, debtor’s motion to convert granted because conversion would terminate trustee’s service, “but will not affect First Bank’s ability to contest the Debtors’ right to continue to proceed in Chapter 13.”

In DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER NETWORK and Maya Van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Petitioners v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, Respondent Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Intervenor, No. 16-1092, 2017 WL 2231097 (D.C. May 23, 2017), a gas pipeline company (Transco) filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and operate a project designed to expand the capacity of an existing pipeline and add two new facilities. Plaintiff, a nonprofit organization, claimed FERC violated the CWA “because it granted Transco’s request to construct and operate the Leidy Project prior to the issuance of Pennsylvania’s water quality certification.” Plaintiff also argued FERC violated NEPA by “failing to establish an accurate baseline from which to conduct its environmental review.” Court found “no merit” in plaintiff’s claims and rejected petition for review.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, FWS, FDA, FS, NIFA, USPTO and RHS rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule proposes one amendment to Marketing Order No. 984, which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California. Details here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Notice APHIS requests a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the export of animals and animal products from the United States. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICES: Notice FWS seeks comment on applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA announces that a proposed collection of information (Import Trade Auxiliary Communication System) has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. Info here.

Notice the Columbia County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Dayton, Washington. Info here.

Notice the Deschutes Provincial Advisory Committee (PAC) will meet in Bend, Oregon. Info here.

Notice the Lyon-Mineral Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Yerington, Nevada. Info here.

Notice the Monongahela National Forest is proposing to charge a $75 fee for the overnight rental of Hopkins Mountain Fireman’s Cabin. Info here.

Notice the Bridger-Teton National Forest is proposing to charge fees at two new rental cabins: Sherman Guard Station and Green River Lakes. Details here.

Notice the Sheyenne National Grassland is proposing to charge a $10 per night fee at the newly constructed Jorgen’s Hollow Campground. Info here.

Notice the Wayne National Forest is proposing to charge a fee of $10.00 per site/per night at Hune Bridge, Lane Farm, Ring Mill, and Lamping Homestead Campgrounds. Details here.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: Notice of opportunity for commodity boards to submit topics and contribute funding under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is exchanging unused yellowfin sole Community Development Quota for rock sole CDQ acceptable biological catch reserves in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Details here.

Notice NOAA invites comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections. Details here.

Notice NMFS has received six scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon and steelhead. Details here.

PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE: Rule USPTO amends the rules of practice to implement certain amendments made to the Regulations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that will take effect on July 1, 2017, concerning the transmittal by a Receiving Office to an International Searching Authority of documents relating to an earlier search or classification. Details here.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICE: Notice RHS announces the acceptance of applications under the Rural Community Development Initiative program. Details here.