We focus on representing agribusinesses in litigation and general counseling involving the Packers & Stockyards Act, Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Capper-Volstead Act, Immigration and Nationality Act and other statutes impacting agriculture. We work with producers and distributors of many agricultural products, including eggs, poultry, peanuts, beef, pork, fresh produce, Vidalia onions, corn and soybeans. We also frequently work on immigration issues related to agribusinesses.
Our attorneys have been in the trenches, deeply involved in many issues affecting agribusinesses. Our team includes:
- A nine-term member of Congress. As a member of the Agriculture and Ways and Means Committees, Congressman Pomeroy focused on risk management through crop insurance and farm programs, promotion of biofuels and value added agriculture through farmer-owned cooperatives.
- A former director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and former general counsel of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
- A former top environmental prosecutor in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
- A litigator with more than 20 years’ experience litigating food safety matters involving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- A former counsel to the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice who led the development of the joint USDA-DOJ hearings on competition in the agriculture industry and a contested merger challenge to two major beef packing companies.
- A former vice chair of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law’s Agriculture and Food Committee.
- Representing a company against a citizen-suit action filed by environmental organizations over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
- Represented an almond, walnut and pistachio grower in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding a Delta smelt “biological opinion” under the Endangered Species Act.
- Represented a timber company in a Clean Water Act challenge to the EPA’s designation of a creek as an “impaired waterbody.”
- Representing a major agricultural lender in peanut-related litigation that led to the precedent-setting Uniform Commercial Code decision of Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, ACA v. Easom Peanut Company, 312 Ga. App. 374 (2011).
- Lead trial counsel for one of the largest integrated poultry companies in the United States in the successful defense of claims brought under the Packers & Stockyards Act and the Agricultural Fair Practices Act.
- Counsel to a group of Vidalia onion producers in successful appellate litigation in the Georgia Court of Appeals.
- Won summary judgment for a large integrated poultry company in breach of contract litigation that was affirmed by the Georgia Court of Appeals.
- Represented a large peanut marketing company in litigation involving long-term peanut supply contracts.
- Trial counsel for a large integrated poultry company in a week-long jury trial in which the jury awarded the company more than $630,000 in damages on its breach of contract claims and awarded the defendant nothing on its counterclaim.
- Counsel for a large integrated poultry company in the successful defense of claims arising out of a delayed freight train. The arbitration panel found for the company on all claims and awarded the plaintiff nothing.
- Representation of a leading transportation provider regarding compliance with regulatory restrictions on the shipment of animals.
- Defending a leading egg producer in proceedings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review of the U.S. Department of Justice.
- General counseling to agribusinesses and trade associations on I-9 compliance and ICE inspections.
FDA Litigation & Advice
- Providing advice and counsel to clients on compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act and other FDA regulations.
- Representing clients facing FDA recall demands and other FDA enforcement involving food safety issues.
- Representation of multiple food importers and exporters in Administrative Procedure Act challenges to FDA import restrictions, export license delays and other issues.
Antitrust Compliance & Litigation
- Representation of a leading national trade association of agricultural products on antitrust compliance issues, including Capper-Volstead Act matters.
- Representation of a beverage manufacturer in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice price-fixing investigation.
- Representation of a food manufacturer in connection with a dispute involving intellectual property and antitrust issues.
- Development of antitrust compliance policies for a leading food ingredient producer.
- Representation of a snack food manufacturer in connection with the potential acquisition of a rival.
- Representation of a leading poultry company in connection with its acquisition by a rival that involved a DOJ investigation and private antitrust litigation.
- Representation of a retailer in connection with multidistrict litigation involving price-fixing of a food product.
- Representation of a leading dairy producer in connection with antitrust litigation and merger matters.
- Representing a consortium of some of the largest producers of Vidalia onions in Georgia on efforts to protect their brand against produce grown outside the state.
- Counseling one of the largest seed producers with intellectual property matters.
- Counsel to numerous produce companies in successful efforts to obtain injunctive and monetary relief in Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act cases in federal and state courts.
- Represented a group of tomato producers in litigation before the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Represented the first European beef producer to be permitted to export beef to the U.S. since the lifting of the embargo.
- Guided clients through successful voluntary disclosures of violations of the export and economic sanctions regulations.
- Developed and implemented import, export, economic sanctions and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance policies, procedures and training programs.
- Designed and led internal trade compliance reviews and due diligence efforts.
- Obtained numerous favorable export classifications, advisory opinions and commodity jurisdiction determinations from the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury.
- Represented clients in prior disclosures of import violations related to tariff classification, valuation, origin and eligibility for preferential treatment.
- Secured over 100 binding rulings and protest decisions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection addressing the origin, classification, marking and value of imported products, as well as the eligibility of products for preferential treatment under NAFTA, CAFTA, GSP, HTSUS 9802 and similar programs, and helped clients recover and save tens of millions of dollars in duty.
- Agribusiness Regulation – Extensive counseling of local and state farm bureaus on proposed legislation impacting agribusiness and property rights.
- False Advertising & Food Labeling – Counsel to an international beverage company in class actions involving alleged false advertising and exposure to benzene in soft drinks.
- Environmental Litigation – Counseling on criminal EPA enforcement actions.
- California Regulatory – Developed a regulatory and media advocacy strategy for a client and successfully obtained repeal of onerous NPDES permit conditions.