WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, & WILDEARTH GUARDIANS, Plaintiffs, v. DAVID BERNHARDT, Sec’y of the Interior, JEFFREY ROSE, Dist. Manager Burns Dist. Bureau of Land Mgmt., & BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, Defendants., No. 2:19-CV-0750-SI, 2019 WL 3206835 (D. Or. July 16, 2019)
Plaintiffs bring this action challenging Defendants’ grant of a renewed Grazing Permit (the “Permit”) to Hammond Ranches, Inc. (“HRI”) on four allotments—Mud Creek, Hammond, Hammond FFR, and Hardie Summer. Plaintiffs argue that then-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Defendant Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) acted arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) because they failed to follow the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (“NEPA”),3 the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (“FLPMA), and applicable BLM regulations. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated these statutes and regulations when Secretary Zinke ordered that HRI’s previous grazing permit be renewed without conducting the analyses required by the FLPMA, BLM regulations, and NEPA, and under the 2015 Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Approved RMP Amendment (“GSG-ARMPA”). Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants violated these statutes when BLM issued a categorical exclusion environmental review and approval (“CX”) and the approved Permit without performing the required analyses.
Plaintiffs filed a motion for temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and preliminary injunction to enjoin grazing on the four allotments. On June 4, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for a TRO and enjoined grazing on the Mud Creek and Hardie Summer allotments through July 2, 2019. The TRO was extended until July 17, 2019 at 5:00 p.m., by the stipulation of the parties. Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ amended motion for preliminary injunction, requesting an order enjoining Defendants from allowing turnout and grazing of livestock on the Mud Creek and Hardie Summer allotments until the Court resolves the merits of this case. It is the parties’ and the Court’s intention to resolve the merits of the case before the 2020 grazing season begins.
HRI’s cattle are currently on the Hammond and Hammond FFR allotments. The cattle have not yet entered the Mud Creek or Hardie Summer allotments. Thus, the requested injunction would not require any cattle be removed from either allotment.
Defendants respond to Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction primarily by arguing that Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they will suffer irreparable harm on the Hardie Summer allotment5 in the absence of preliminary relief. Defendants also argue Plaintiffs fail to show that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and that the balance of the equities and public interest considerations support issuing a preliminary injunction. On June 28 and July 2, 2019, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on Plaintiffs’ motion.
At the beginning of the hearing on June 28th, Defendants proposed an alternative grazing plan for the Court’s consideration. Under this proposed amended grazing plan, there would be no authorized grazing on the Mud Creek allotment except for when the cattle “quickly and methodically trail through” to get to the Hardie Summer allotment.6 On the Hardie Summer allotment, the pasture known as Fir Creek7 would be rested, and the remaining pastures would be grazed at a 30 percent utilization standard instead of the 50 percent utilization standard authorized in the Permit. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. The Court enjoins any turnout and grazing beyond the amended grazing plan proposed by Defendants at the beginning of the June 28, 2019 hearing.
BAKER & MURAKAMI PRODUCE COMPANY LLLP, an Idaho limited liability limited partnership; & J.F. PALMER AND SONS PRODUCE, INC., a Texas corporation; Plaintiffs, v. WENG FARMS INC., a Texas corporation; LIYA WENG, an individual also known as Lea Weng; WILLIAM R. FOSTER, individual; & HILLCREST FARM, a business entity; Defendants., No. CV418-0252, 2019 WL 3208372 (S.D. Ga. July 16, 2019)
This case arises under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930, 7 U.S.C. § 499 (“PACA”). In 1984, Congress amended PACA “to establish a nonsegregated statutory trust under which a produce dealer holds its produce-related assets as a fiduciary until full payment is made to the produce seller.” Frio Inc. S.A. v. Sunfruit, Inc., 918 F.2d 154, 156 (11th Cir. 1990). As a result, a trust beneficiary may now bring an action in federal court “to enforce payment from the trust.” 7 U.S.C. § 499e(c)(5).
In this case, Plaintiffs contend that they shipped produce to Defendant Weng Farms and have not yet received payment for that shipment valued at $302,078.25.  According to Plaintiffs, Defendant Weng Farms has never disputed that it owes money for the shipment. Rather, Plaintiffs contend that Defendant Weng Farms has provided other excuses for its failure to pay for the shipment-lack of payment from their own customers, internal issues, etc. (Id.) Plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction to prevent Defendants from dissipating assets in the PACA trust until Plaintiffs received full payment for their shipment.  On January 11, 2019, this Court entered a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendant Weng Farms from dissipating any PACA trust assets.
In the meantime, Plaintiffs were actively trying to serve Defendant Liya Weng. On February 1, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an affidavit of service purporting to properly serve Defendant Liya Weng. Based on the date of service, Defendant Weng was required to file a responsive pleading in this case by February 20, 2019. Defendant Weng failed to comply with the filing deadline and on February 27, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion For Clerk’s Entry of Default against Defendant Liya Weng.  Because Defendant Weng had failed to file a responsive pleading, the Clerk entered default as requested.  On March 13, 2019, Defendant Weng filed a Motion to Set Aside Default.  This motion is now ripe for review.
AGRIFUND, LLC Plaintiff-Appellant v. RADAR RIDGE PLANTING CO., INC. AND THOMAS A. DICKERSON Defendants-Appellees, 52,432 (La. App. 2 Cir. 7/17/19)
This case arises from agricultural loans that were not repaid. The lender, Agrifund, LLC (“Agrifund”), appeals from a trial court judgment granting exceptions of no cause of action as to its claims against eight of the numerous defendants in this case, and the dismissal of those defendants with prejudice. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court found that the plaintiff has alleged a cause of action in conversion against the three banks named as defendants. We find that the plaintiff has not alleged any other causes of action against any of the defendants who filed the exceptions that are before us. The matter is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.