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AGRCULTURAL LAW NEWSLETTERS AND ALERTS

 

July 2015

A WIN-WIN FOR FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS:
Mediator Imposed Collective Bargaining Agreement is Unconstitutional
On May 14, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the State of California, Fifth Appellate District, in a unanimous three-judge decision, ruled that the state imposed collective bargaining agreement under the  "Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation" ("MMC")(Labor Code section 1164 et seq.) on farm companies and agricultural unions is unconstitutional.  Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. , 236 Cal. App. 4th 1024 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 2015).  The court stated the MMC statute violates equal protection principles and constitutes an improper delegation of legislative authority. Click here to read more>

December 16, 2014 

California Commercial Code Finally Follows National Trend In Perfecting Security Interests Against Individuals

Are you an exclusive marketing agent who advances money to a grower to help finance the grower's crops for the season while taking a security interest in the crops and other personal property assets of the debtor?  Or, do you help finance the purchase of a high priced item and in turn, take back a purchase money security interest in the item?  If so, the following information will be of particular interest to you. Click here to read more>


 April 14, 2011 

NEW PACA REGULATION ALLOWS FOR POST-DEFAULT PAYMENT PLANS WITHOUT JEOPARDIZING A SUPPLIER'S PACA TRUST ELIBILITY

By: Marion I. Quesnebery

Yesterday, the new amendment to the USDA's PACA Regulations, 7 C.F.R. sec. 46.46(e)(2)&(3), took effect allowing produce sellers to make post-default payment agreements with their delinquent buyers without losing their PACA trust eligibility.  Before this revision, a seller - who tried to collect on a past due account from its buyer by agreeing to a payment plan - jeopardized waiving its PACA trust rights. This waiver resulted in many produce sellers losing their priority status as PACA trust creditors and being downgraded to unsecured creditor status.

Rynn & Janowsky, LLP's Patricia J. Rynn took an active role in shaping this improved piece of law.  Last year, the USDA published the proposed regulation for public comment.  R&J recognized flaws in the proposed regulation and analyzed the affect they might have have on our agribusiness clients.  Because the draft regulations contained language that could be detrimental to our clients, Ms. Rynn submitted proposed revisions to the USDA on behalf of our clients.  The USDA took note and incorporated R&J's suggestions into the final version of the new law.  Click here to read more >


May 2009 

CREDIT CRUNCH - EXTENDING CREDIT TO PRODUCE CUSTOMERS WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

"Expect the economy to get worse before it gets worse..." or "This recession could last another five years..."   This is rhetoric no longer attributed to just economic analysts.  The economy is the topic of news and conversation everywhere.  It seems no one and no industry is immune to the economic crisis, including the produce industry.  One dilemma the produce business faces - extending credit to produce customers without breaking the bank. 

Dealing with highly perishable goods mandates that a produce business extend credit to its customers.  Extending credit for produce transactions is contemplated under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, and it allows companies to sell at higher volumes to increase business.  On the other hand, executed improperly, this extension of credit can sink your business and force you to litigate to collect against a non-paying customer.

Rynn & Janowsky, LLP has pinpointed common mistakes made by produce companies and has developed an approach to protect your business against financial risk of selling to a new customer.  Click here to read more >

 


Fall 2006 

FDA E. COLI ADVISORY WARNINGS AND PRODUCT RECALLS: What They Really Mean and How Suppliers Should Respond

The FDA's recent advisory warning about the E. Coli outbreak in spinach has raised numerous questions throughout the produce industry concerning not only the legal and practical effect of such advisories, but what steps a supplier should take in response.

Distinction Between Product Recalls and FDA Advisory Warnings

Contrary to common belief, the FDA does not order recalls of food products.  Any headlines or news reports to the contrary are wrong.  This is becuase the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act authorizes the FDA to order a product recall only in limited situations where a medical device, human tissue product or infant formula pose a risk to human health.  When the risk to human health involves any other product, such as fresh produce, the FDA may only issue advisory warnings and, if necessary, may request (but not order) manufacturers to recall the suspect food product. Click here to read more >


October 2005 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION WILL PROVIDE A SPEEDY AND COST-EFFECTIVE MEANS TO ARBITRATE COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURAL DISPUTES UNDER $30,000.00

The Advisory Board to the California Department of Agriculture's Market Enforcement Bureau has been busy over the past year.  The Committee, which includes Rynn & Janowsky, LLP partner Patricia Rynn, has been drafting an amendment to the California Food and Agricultural Code (new section 56382.8) which would provide agricultural producers with a way to inexpensively and quickly obtain a final decision relating to disputes under $30,000.00.  If passed, AB1061 would, among other things, provide that commercial disputes involving farm products (with less than $30,000.00 at issue) could result in a final arbitration award within thirty (30) days of submission of the case.  The cases will be decided exclusively upon written evidence submitted from both sides, without an oral hearing.  The costs for the arbitration will be a flat $600.00 fee, and an additional $600.00 fee if there is a counterclaim submitted by the Respondent. Click here to read more >


Spring 2004 

EDI AND THE PACA TRUST: ARE YOU PROTECTED?

Paperless Invoices May Jeopardize Seller's Trust Rights

As more and more food service, retail and club store customers are requiring their vendors, including produce vendors, to shift from paper invoices to electronically transmitted invoices, produce merchants are more concerned than ever about their PACA trust rights. They should be concerned.  The increasing prevalence of Electronic Data Interchange or "EDI" invoices in lieu of paper billing statements, coupled with the very real prospect that behemoth retail chains for distributors may suddenly file for bankruptcy protection brings a new sense of urgency to the issue. Click here to read more >


December 2004 

LENDING MONEY TO MEXICAN GROWERS: HOW CAN U.S. MARKETERS PROTECT THEIR INVESTMENT?

Mexico's Revised Secured Transaction Laws

In an attempt to modernize Mexico's secured transaction laws and thereby promote foreign investment in Mexico, a new body of Secured Transaction Law ("STL") was enacted in 2000 and 2003.  For the most part, Mexico's revised STL was patterned after the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC"), as revised in 2000.  However, certain aspects of Mexico's revised STL, especially as it relates to registration requirements, are of particular concern to U.S.-based produce shippers who have entered into non-possessory secured transactions with Mexico-based growers or exporters.  This article will briefly summarize those concerns and describe what should be done to fully perfect your secured interest.  Click here to read more > 


Fall 2003 

INCLUDING ATTORNEYS' FEES AND FINANCE CHARGE PROVISIONS ON YOUR INVOICES ARE AN ABSOLUTE MUST

Ninth Circuit Decision Should Benefit a Trust Claimant's Recovery

While it was always a good idea to include language on your invoices that would allow you to recover attorney's fees in the event litigation is filed, now there is a Ninth Circuit appellate decision that expressly adds these fees to a claimant's PACA trust claim.  Although the Ninth Circuit covers only the Western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam, the Court of Appeals is persuasive authority throughout the entire United States.  Click here to read more > 


Summer 2002

BEWARE: PACA TRUST LANGUAGE ON YOUR INVOICES MAY NOT GUARANTEE PROTECTION

In 1995, Congress amended the PACA trust provisions to provide a second -- significantly simpler - invoice method of protecting a supplier's PACA trust rights.  Growers and shippers of perishable agricultural commodities enthusiastically embraced this "ordinary and usual invoice" method, principally because it is easy.  it appears to merely require that suppliers print specific PACA trust language on their invoices. Click here to read more > 

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