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


ANNOUNCEMENT: Join us TODAY at 12 noon (ET) for an Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar: “Estate Planning: Preparing to Plan.”  Details available here.


JUDICIAL: Includes environmental, agritourism, and animal welfare issues. 

In Don STRONG, et al., Plaintiffs, v. REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants, No. 4:17CV1645JCH, 2017 WL 4758958 (E.D. Mo. October 20, 2017), plaintiffs owned farmland next to defendant’s landfill and alleged that defendants “own[ed] and operat[ed] [the Landfills] which accepted radioactive waste without a license to do so.” They further claimed damages due to the presence of radioactive waste. Central issue concerned federal jurisdiction under the Price Anderson Act (PAA), “which provide[s] certain federal licensees with a system of private insurance, Government indemnification, and limited liability for claims of ‘public liability.’” Plaintiffs filed motion to remand because “[f]ederal jurisdiction is not created under the PAA unless a “nuclear incident” has been alleged.” Court concluded that “this matter should be resolved in favor of finding that there cannot be federal jurisdiction under the PAA without a license or an indemnity agreement.” Motion to remand granted.

LARCHMONT HOLDINGS, LLC, Plaintiff, v. NORTH SHORE SERVICES, LLC and WILLIAM BETHKE, Defendants, 16-cv-575-slc, 2017 WL 5197415 (W.D. Wis. November 9, 2017) involved a land contract dispute arising from a failed frac sand mining venture. Plaintiff agreed to pay defendant $4 million on a land contract for 300 acres of land. Defendant’s mining operation never materialized and plaintiff was stuck with “half a square mile of forest and past due installment payments on the land contract’s $2,275,000 balance.” Plantiff sued and defendant moved for summary judgment on a “strict foreclosure counterclaim” and on plaintiff’s contract-related claims. Court found defendant “has the right of strict foreclosure under the terms of the land contract and has satisfied the elements of such a claim.” Court, however, denied summary judgment motion by defendant because defendant failed to demonstrate that plaintiff’s affirmative defenses, “specifically laches, equitable estoppel, and unclean hands . . . fail as a matter of law.”

In STATE of Oklahoma, Appellant, v. George Wesley GILCHRIST, Jr., Appellee, No. S-2016-623, 2017 WL 5196712 (Okla. November 9, 2017), defendant was charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty for the treatment of dogs on his property. Defendant filed motion to quash and argued that “Counts 2—13 of the information subjects him to multiple punishments for the same offense in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause.” District court granted motion to quash and State appealed. Appellate court noted that “the clear statutory intent is to proscribe the abuse and maltreatment defined in [the statute] when inflicted against any particular animal.” Court reversed the motion to quash and concluded that defendant’s “separate abuse and maltreatment of each dog supports the thirteen counts filed by the prosecutor.”


REGULATORY: Includes APHIS, FSA, FWS, and NOAA rules and notices. 

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Notice APHIS has received a petition from Verdeca LLC seeking a determination of nonregulated status for the new plant variety HB4 soybean designated as IND-00410-5, which has been genetically engineered for increased yield. Info here.

FARM SERVICE AGENCY: Notice FSA is requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension of a currently approved information collection associated with the Volunteer Program. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice advises the public of the completion of an environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI). Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule implements management measures previously approved for Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan and publicizes status quo management measures for 2018. Info here.

Rule NMFS publishes Fraser River salmon inseason orders to regulate treaty and non-treaty commercial salmon fisheries in U.S. waters. Details here.

Rule that NMFS is considering changes to the lobster management program and may select a control date to restrict the number of permits or traps an individual or business entity may own, with specific emphasis on Lobster. Info here.

Notice that NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), has found certain stocks are subject to overfishing or approaching an overfished condition. Details here.

Notice that NMFS has received 14 scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon, steelhead, eulachon, and green sturgeon. Info here.

Notice NMFS announces the receipt of two exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications. Details here.