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 products liability, contract, and zoning issues.

Stevens v. Arch Wood Prot., Inc., No. CV 12-46-HRW, 2016 WL 5660362 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 28, 2016) involved products liability action where plaintiff was allegedly harmed from being “occupationally exposed to toxic levels of chemicals used to preserve wooden utility poles.” Defendants, chemical manufacturers and wood-treating companies, claimed superseding cause of plaintiff’s injuries was “his employer’s failure to properly train and warn” him. Court observed that, “After a plaintiff proves his exposure to a defendant’s product, he must then establish that the exposure to the product was a substantial factor in causing the harm.” Plaintiff argued his case is “analogous to asbestos cases.” Court found plaintiff did not provide evidence demonstrating defendant’s products were a “substantial factor” in causing plaintiff’s injuries. Summary judgment granted for defendants.

In Krummen v. Winger, No. 15-1044, 2016 WL 5408335 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 28, 2016), defendants owned farmland and had a wind company construct wind turbines on it. They sold a portion of the land to plaintiffs. However, defendants could not assign their rights under the lease for the property they retained because of a lease provision prohibiting severance of wind energy rights. District court found there was a breach of contract and granted termination of the contract. Appellate court stated district court “improperly granted summary judgment as the plaintiffs have not shown they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the breach of contract claim.” Court ruled that, “Before plaintiffs can show they are entitled to relief based on the terms of the contract, there must be a determination of whether the contract merged into the warranty deed.” District court decision reversed and case remanded.

Balady Farms, LLC, Appellant v. Paradise Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd. v. Paradise Twp., No. 171 C.D. 2016, 2016 WL 5724905 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Oct. 4, 2016) concerned whether a zoning board correctly interpreted an ordinance prohibiting plaintiff from operating a poultry processing business. On appeal, plaintiff argued trial court erred “by classifying the proposed operation as a commercial chicken processing facility when, in fact, it would only process chickens raised on the Property.” Plaintiff argued his facility “met the Ordinance’s definition of ‘agriculture’” and is a permitted use of the property. Appellate court noted extensive legislation was enacted to protect agricultural operations and determined that plaintiff’s “addition of a chicken processing facility for chickens raised and bred on the farm . . . falls squarely within the Township’s definition of ‘agriculture.’” Trial court reversed.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FWS, FSIS, FS, ITA, NOAA and RHS rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of 2-propenoic acid, polymer with butyl 2-propenoate and ethenylbenzene, when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. Info here.

Rule stablishing time-limited tolerances for residues of tolfenpyrad in or on vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Rule FWS determines endangered species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for the Miami tiger beetle, a beetle species from Miami-Dade County, Florida. Info here.

Rule FWS designates critical habitat for the Kentucky arrow darter under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.

Rule FWS determines threatened species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for Kentucky arrow darter, a fish species from the upper Kentucky River basin in Kentucky. Details here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INPSECTION SERVICE:

Rule FSIS announcing availability of an updated version of the Agency’s compliance guideline on documentation needed to support animal-raising claims on product labels that must be submitted for Agency approval before they can be used on product labels. Details here.

Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Accredited Laboratory Annual Contact Update Form. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS will prepare a SEIS for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Travel Planning project on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, Idaho. Details here.

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

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION:

Notice that on September 13, 2016, the Department of Commerce published in the Federal Register the final results of the 2014-2015 administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from India. In the Final Results, the Department failed to assign a final cash deposit rate of 2.20 percent to the company “Jagadeesh Marine Exports.” As a result, the final results are corrected. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS implements accountability measures for the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the exclusive economic zone of the South Atlantic. Info here.

Notice NMFS determines Atlantic dusky sharks are still overfished and subject to overfishing. Details here.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICE: Notice FSA and Rural Development will request an extension for a currently approved information collection in support of compliance with applicable acts for planning and performing construction and other development work. Details here.