Nat. Res. Def. Council v. Bernhardt, No. 105CV01207LJOEPG, 2019 WL 937872 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2019)

On March 12, 2018, Plaintiffs, a coalition of environmental interest groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”), filed the currently operative Sixth Supplemental Complaint (“6SC”), which includes numerous claims brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (“Bureau” or “Reclamation”), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS” or “Service”) (collectively, “Federal Defendants”), and various Joined Defendants and Defendant Intervenors. See generally ECF No. 1187. The remaining claims in the case1 allege that the renewal, implementation, and approval of renewal and implementation of certain long-term water contracts violate the ESA and/or APA. Id.

Before the Court for decision are cross-motions for summary judgment on the second and fourth claims for relief in the 6SC. The fourth claim for relief alleges a 2015 Letter of Concurrence (“2015 LOC”) authored by FWS was the culmination of an inadequate ESA consultation regarding the effects of certain long-term contract renewals on delta smelt (“2015 Contract Renewal Reconsultation”). 6SC at ¶¶ 189-194. Specifically, Plaintiffs challenge renewal of certain Sacramento River Settlement (“SRS”) Contracts2 and other contracts held by water users in the Delta Mendota Canal (“DMC”)3 unit of the Central Valley Project (“CVP”). The second claim for relief alleges that Reclamation acted unlawfully by accepting the 2015 LOC and implementing the long-term water supply contracts in reliance on the 2015 LOC. Id. at ¶¶ 176-182. The motions concerning the second and fourth claims are limited to the administrative record (“AR”).
Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to the fourth and second causes of action is DENIED and Defendants’ cross-motions are GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate FWS as a Defendant. The case shall remain open, however, as the sixth claim for relief against numerous other Defendants remains alive and is set for a bench trial.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. Glob. Horizons, Inc., 915 F.3d 631 (9th Cir. 2019) 

Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards (the Growers) are fruit growers in the State of Washington. In 2003, the Growers experienced labor shortages and entered into agreements with Global Horizons, Inc., a labor contractor, to obtain temporary workers for their orchards. With the Growers’ approval, Global Horizons recruited workers from Thailand and brought them to the United States under the H-2A guest worker program, which allows agricultural employers to hire foreign workers for temporary and seasonal work.
In 2006, two of the Thai workers filed discrimination charges against the Growers and Global Horizons with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After an investigation, the EEOC brought this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC alleged, among other things, that the Growers and Global Horizons subjected the Thai workers to poor working conditions, substandard living conditions, and unsafe transportation on the basis of their race and national origin. The district court entered a default judgment against Global Horizons after it discontinued its defense in the action; Global Horizons was financially insolvent by the time the EEOC brought suit. This case thus focuses solely on the liability of the Growers.
The Court reverses each of the orders challenged on appeal. First, they reverse the district court’s order granting in part the Growers’ motions to dismiss. The court erred by dismissing the EEOC’s disparate treatment claim (and the related pattern-or-practice claim) on the ground that the Growers were not joint employers of the Thai workers as to non-orchard-related matters. (The EEOC does not challenge the dismissal of its retaliation claim or the related pattern-or-practice claim.) On remand, the district court is instructed to grant the EEOC leave to amend its complaint with respect to Valley Fruit’s liability as to non-orchard-related matters. The court should then reconsider the disparate treatment claim (and the related pattern-or-practice claim) in light of the EEOC’s allegations regarding both orchard-related and non-orchard-related matters.
Second, they reverse the district court’s order denying the EEOC’s motions to compel discovery regarding the Growers’ liability with respect to non-orchard-related matters. The court’s order was predicated on the incorrect premise that the Growers could not be held liable for non-orchard-related matters as a matter of law.
Third, they reverse the district court’s order granting the Growers’ motion for summary judgment. At that stage, the court reviewed the EEOC’s remaining Title VII claims only in light of the evidence regarding orchard-related matters, after having cut off discovery for all non-orchard-related matters. On remand, following appropriate discovery, the court is instructed to reconsider the EEOC’s claims in light of evidence regarding both orchard-related and non-orchard-related matters.
Finally, they reverse the district court’s order granting the Growers’ motions for attorney’s fees, as the Growers are no longer prevailing parties. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k). Moreover, the EEOC’s litigation position was not frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation. See Christianburg Garment Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412, 434 U.S. 412, 421, 54 L.Ed.2d 648 (1978).
Williamson Farm v. Diversified Crop Ins. Servs., No. 18-1463, 2019 WL 939004 (4th Cir. Feb. 27, 2019)

In this case, Williamson Farm (“Appellant”) challenges the district court’s decision to vacate an arbitration award that Appellant won against Diversified Crop Insurance (“Appellee”), a private insurance company that sold federal crop insurance policies to Appellant. Appellant asserts that the district court erred in denying its motion to confirm the arbitration award and granting Appellee’s motion to vacate on the basis that the arbitrator exceeded her powers.
Despite the strong presumption in favor of confirming arbitration awards pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), we hold that Appellee met its heavy burden to prove that the arbitrator exceeded her powers by awarding extra-contractual damages, contrary to both the policy and binding authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (“FCIC”). The court affirms.
IN RE: KIRK JOHN DUENSING EVE LEONOR DUENSING Debtors., No. 18-10201, 2019 WL 937159 (Bankr. D. Kan. Feb. 22, 2019) Two issues remain undecided in the Duensings’ chapter 12 case. One is whether the debtors may direct that plan payments on their student loans be applied first to principal. The other is whether they can propose a final distribution of their farming assets to a trust that will pay their unsecured creditors for five years after the plan’s completion.
The plan’s proposed treatment of ECMC’s student loan claims by directing plan payments be applied to principal is a permitted modification under § 1222(b)(2). Curing and maintaining payments on those claims beyond the five-year term is permitted by § 1222(b)(5). ECMC’s objection to confirmation is overruled. But, as the plan’s ten-year payment proposal violates the five-year limitation of § 1222(c), the plan cannot be confirmed over the Trustee’s objection. The Trustee’s confirmation objection is sustained, and confirmation is denied without prejudice to the debtors filing an amended plan within 21 days from the date of this order. Failing that, the case may be dismissed.