Minnesota Farmer Protection Law Upheld in Eighth Circuit Decision for Taft’s Clients

On Sept. 8, 2022, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides all appeals from the Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota federal district courts, re-established Minnesota as the only state other than Kansas to authorize “farmers” to sue an out-of-state “parent company for the unmet contractual obligations of its subsidiary under certain agricultural contracts.” Pitman Farms v. Kuehl Poultry, LLC, et al, — F.4th —-, 2022 WL 4100950 (8th Cir. Sept. 8, 2022). 

The Eighth Circuit also established Minnesota as the first state in the country to have this game-changing farmer protection judicially recognized. More specifically, in an opinion authored by Chief Judge Lavenski R. Smith, the three-judge panel, relying upon the legislative and administrative purpose of protecting Minnesota’s farmers against the financial insolvency of subsidiary shell companies with whom they contract for the provision of agricultural “produce” or “services,” unanimously rejected the parent company’s arguments against the application of these Minnesota statutes to its liability for its subsidiary’s over $9 million in contract liability to Taft’s six Minnesota chicken grower clients.

The Taft team included Minneapolis litigation partners Jack Y. Perry, Maren M. Forde, and Andrew S. Dosdall. Perry is a senior trial lawyer and litigator, specializing in high-stakes litigation and regulatory compliance matters across a broad array of sectors. He is one of Minnesota’s leading agricultural law practitioners. Forde focuses her practice principally in the areas of land use planning and zoning litigation, insurance coverage litigation, and general business disputes. Dosdall practices primarily in the areas of business, employment, and real estate litigation.

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