A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions to: camarigg at uark.edu

JUDICIAL: Includes urbanzination and ag, animal ID, choice-of-law, and administrative law issues.

In Re: Appeal of Joan and Douglass Van Tiggelen from the Decision Dated April 22, 2015, of the Jefferson Township Zoning Hearing Board, Appeal of: Robert R. Sanders, Pamela Sanders, Corale Bortz, David Bortz, Deborah Lee Pickett, VMD, James Russo, Darin H. Hein, Brenda L. Hein and Betsy Adams, No. 1350 C.D. 2016, 2017 WL 1162446 (Pa. Commw. Ct. March 29, 2017) concerned a zoning permit for a “veterinary clinic home occupation.” A couple sought a permit to construct a building on their property to house a veterinary clinic. Neighbors objected claiming the clinic would “not meet the Ordinance’s definition of a home occupation because it is not a use customarily conducted entirely within a dwelling unit.” Appellate court considered the definition of “home occupation” and determined that, “Because the record contains no evidence to support the Board’s conclusion that the proposed veterinary clinic is not a use customarily conducted within a dwelling unit as required by the Ordinance, the Board abused its discretion in so finding.” The court reinstated the permit.

In Robert REPIN, Petitioner, v. STATE of Washington; Washington State University; and Margaret Cohn-Urbach, BVSC; and Does 1-10, Respondents, No. 34049-0-III, 2017 WL 1063482 (Wash. Ct. App. March 21, 2017), petitioner sued for conduct arising from the euthanasia of his Alaskan Malamute, claiming defendant performed the operation “with gross negligence.” Plaintiff sued for professional negligence, and reckless breach of contract. Trial court ruled petitioner could not recover “emotional distress damages for a reckless breach of contract.” Appellate court affirmed.

In ALIMENTS KRISPY KERNELS, INC., Appellant v. NICHOLS FARMS a/k/a Nichols Family Farms a/k/a Nichols Pistachios, No. 16-1975, 2017 WL 1055569 (3rd Cir. March 21, 2017), appellant, “a snack purveyor,” filed a petition to confirm an arbitration award against seller, “a pistachio grower,” based on breach of contract by seller. Seller moved to vacate the award, the district court granted seller’s petition to vacate, and buyer appealed. Appellate court found that per New Jersey’s “choice-of-law rules,” New Jersey law (rather than New York) on contract formation, “applied to determination of whether buyer and seller agreed to arbitrate buyer’s breach of contract claim.” Appellate court also found that “factual disputes” prevented it from concluding that buyer and seller made an agreement to arbitrate. Case vacated and remanded.

In Barbara A. NICHOLS, Plaintiff, v. Mike Young,1Acting Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture, Defendant, No. 13-1502 (RDM), 2017 WL 1131873 (D.D.C. March 24, 2017), plaintiff sued USDA for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Plaintiff claimed that she was subjected to a “no tolerance” policy regarding her work and that the USDA “applied a ‘double standard’ under which it ‘quickly redress[ed] any issue’” involving her work performance. Court found plaintiff’s amended complaint “fails to state a claim for race, sex, or age discrimination,” and granted USDA’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.


S. 751: A bill to amend title 54, United States Code, to establish, fund, and provide for the use of amounts in a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 1756: To require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 220 as soon as practicable, and for other purposes. Bill referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.Res. 233: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1431) to amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications. Passed 232/188.

H.R. 1430: HONEST Act. Passed 228/194.

REGULATORY: Includes FWS, FDA, FS and ITA rules and notices.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice FWS sent an Information Collection Request to OMB for review. Title: Injurious Wildlife; Importation Certification for Live Fish and Fish Eggs. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Rule FDA is amending the prior notice of imported food regulations to reflect a change in the electronic data interchange system and its expanded capabilities. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE: Notice Vail Ski Resort submitted a proposal to the White River National Forest for improvements to ski/snowboard racing facilities within its Forest Service-administered Special User Permit area. Details here.

Notice the Soda Springs Ranger District proposes to conduct forest vegetation management activities and road work in a 5,590-acre project area within the Wood Canyon and Johnson Creek drainages located in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION:  Notice that on December 6, 2016, the Department of Commerce published its Preliminary Rescission for the new shipper review of the antidumping duty order on honey from China. Details here.