Spirits from the Delta, U.S. Solicitor Says “No” to Roundup Cancer Appeal | Other Legal News
Delta Dirt Distillery’s Sweet Vodka
Farms willing to take a leap and step outside of the commodity cycle can reap some fine rewards, and Harvey Williams, Jr. has done just that with his launch of Delta Dirt Distillery in Helena, Arkansas. On the Phillips County farm that Williams’ grandfather bought in 1949, the Williams family raises sweet potatoes and grain which they use in their newly opened distillery to make craft vodka, gin, and whisky. Their Sweet Blend Vodka, made with sweet potatoes and corn from the family farm, recently won the Double Gold award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the world’s largest competitions of its kind. The dirt on Williams’ family farm is pictured on the back of every label of their spirits.
We love a good farming success story, especially those that carve out a niche for unique products and markets.
U.S. Solicitor Advises Against Roundup Cancer Appeal
The U.S. Solicitor General filed its brief urging the Supreme Court to reject Bayer’s appeal of Edwin Hardeman’s $80 million Roundup cancer verdict. While Hardeman’s damages were reduced to $25 million, Bayer asked the Supreme Court to essentially overturn the verdict because (i) EPA’s approval of the Roundup label under FIFRA preempts Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims, and (ii) the trial court should have excluded some of the Plaintiff’s medical experts. The Solicitor’s brief argued that FIFRA preemption does not apply and that “EPA’s approval of labeling that does not warn about particular chronic risks does not by itself preempt a state-law requirement to provide such warnings.” It also stated that “The court’s evidentiary ruling likewise does not conflict with the standards applied by other circuits in considering the admissibility of expert testimony. The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied.”
Until 2005, FIFRA preemption provided virtual immunity to pesticide registrants who argued that EPA’s approval of a label operated as a shield against state law tort claims. But in 2005, the Supreme Court decided Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, LLC in which it held that FIFRA preempted only those claims that were not consistent with federal law. Thus, failure-to-warn claims are not preempted when they are consistent with FIFRA. Besides’ the fact that FIFRA itself states that label approval is not a defense to a claim, allowing such claims to go forward should motivate more robust, informative labels – and everyone benefits from a better label.