New Pesticides Bogged Down in Litigation, a Beer By Any Other Name and More

Pesticides | Cape Law Firm

New Pesticides Buried in Lawsuits Over Endangered Species Act

In a recent hearing before the House Ag Committee, EPA Administrator Michael Regan made it clear that the Agency has been hammered by a growing wave of lawsuits regarding its failure to include Endangered Species Act (ESA) review in its pesticide registration process. The ESA requires federal agencies such as EPA to ensure that federal government will not jeopardize a listed species or its designed critical habitat, which includes registration or review of a pesticide. But EPA has ignored ESA obligations for decades, leading to numerous lawsuits. As reported by DTN Progressive Farmer, EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention revealed that there are “more than 50 pesticide ingredients encompassing more than 1,000 products currently have court-enforceable deadlines to comply with the Endangered Species Act or are in pending litigation.” Administrator Regan indicated that inadequate funding for additional personnel are slowing their efforts to get pesticides through the ESA review process. You can read more from Todd Neely at DTN Progressive Farmer here.

Definition of Beer Settled (For Now) by New York Jury

The biggest beer company in the world, and another beer company that is pretty darn big, have been slugging it out in a New York federal court over the legal definition of “beer.” We reported on this case last year, which stems from a trademark licensing dispute between ABInBev (ABI) and Constellation Brands in which ABI licensed Constellation to use the Corona brand for beer in the United States. When Constellation launched “Corona Hard Seltzer” in the US, ABI cried foul because, in ABI’s view, hard seltzer was not “beer,” and therefore was a violation of the license.
Both sides filed motions hoping to persuade the judge that the definition of beer was quite clear, while the other side’s definition was all wet. We’re not sure if the judge is a beer drinker, but regardless, he wasn’t convinced that either side had captured an all-encompassing definition of beer. In deciding the last of those motions, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York recognized “that [ABI] has more dictionaries on its side of this debate over the meaning of ‘beer’ than does [Constellation]. But the fact remains that the dictionaries, however important, do not resolve this case.”
Thus, the case went to a jury trial last month – and the jury decided that beer did in fact include hard seltzer. Thus, we’re going to have to be far more careful (and specific) next time we go to order a frosty mug of beer (the version made from fermented grains such as barely, wheat, or corn and including some variety of hops). For a really funny take on the whole dispute, see this article by Dave Infante.
The case is also a reminder that the particular words in a contract can be very important!

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