Agribusiness is a multi-billion dollar industry, governed by a web of state and federal statutes and regulated at the federal, state and county level. The legal problems of the ag industry are unique and involve statutes dating back to the Old West, such as open range laws, and issues which are strictly modern, e.g., balancing the interests of organic producers with those of conventional farmers. We advise our ag clients on regulatory matters, labor and employment issues, and prosecute and defend crop loss and related business matters.
As revenue and profits in agriculture have grown, so have claims and litigation involving the industry. Crop loss claims can span multiple years and result in millions of dollars in damages. Lawsuits by farm workers for on-the-job injuries or arising from the use or transport of farm equipment are now commonplace. Growers, packers and distributors have become targets of lawsuits alleging food-borne illnesses, mislabeled packaging and products liability. Knowledge of the industry and experience with the legal framework governing agriculture is needed to successfully handle this litigation.
At WSHB, we have years of experience working with growers, packers, brokers and distributors, as well as the numerous contractors and vendors who provide services to agriculture. We use our first-rate skills as litigators and trial attorneys and our background in related areas of practice, including transportation, real estate and land use, products liability and commercial and business litigation, to consistently obtain favorable results for these clients in litigated and non-litigated matters.
- Defense of growers, applicators and manufacturers at trial, mediation and in non-litigated claims involving herbicide drift and overspray.
- Obtained defense judgment on behalf of cattle rancher following bench trial in multi-million dollar crop loss suit brought by adjacent land owner.
- Successful representation of farmers, ranchers and contractors against personal injury claims involving use of farming equipment, trucks, trailers and tractors on private and public roads, counseling regarding and litigation of claims resulting from ag crimes, and products liability claims involving irrigation and packing systems.
- On eve of trial, summary judgment granted in favor of client in lawsuit alleging that in utero pesticide exposure had caused birth defects to offspring of farm worker.
- Obtained favorable settlement in lawsuit alleging that dust from harvesting operations drifted onto public highway causing chain reaction accident.
- Negotiation of contracts and leases for and business and employment counseling of packers, distributors, brokers and shippers of produce and other farm products.