Posted April 17, 2014
 
Both sides are claiming victory after a Georgia judge refused to intervene in a case between a Vidalia onion grower and the state’s agriculture commissioner, according to an article by the Associated Press available here.
 
The dispute involves a regulation which mandates that Vidalia onions may not be packed for shipping before the last full week of April.  The rule is aimed at keeping unripe onions off store shelves, damaging the brand’s reputation. Vidalia onion sales are estimated to be worth $150 million a year.
 
Both sides are claiming victory in the most recent case, according to an article by The Packer available here.
 
Superior Court Judge Jay D. Stewart dismissed the case on April 15.  Judge Stewart’s ruling states that he did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, “partly because the matter was already pending before the Georgia Court of Appeals.” 
 
Judge Stewart wrote, “The plaintiff sought, and obtained, an order in (Judge Wright’s court) declaring that the new packing rule is void and unenforceable as well as an injunction barring (Commissioner Black) from taking any enforcement action against (Bland) for violations of this packing rule.”
 
The commissioner and Georgia’s Attorney General say that their notice of appeal put the case on hold, which means the new rule is still in effect.  Black’s office issued a statement saying, “We believe Judge Stewart correctly dismissed the case…With the help of the Attorney General’s office, we look forward to continuing the discussions regarding the Vidalia onion pack date in appellate court.”
 
Bland and his attorney, however, believe that they have an injunction barring the commissioner from enforcing the new Vidalia onion start date.

 

For more information on the previous case a post from this blog is available here.  For more information on marketing orders, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.