December 31, 2020

Ag, Business Coalition Files Lawsuit to Protect Nation’s Food Supply

Western Growers and a coalition of agricultural and business association allies filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday challenging the COVID-19 related emergency temporary standards (ETS) recently approved by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board). The complaint alleges, among other things, that the Board lacks statutory authority to impose many of the sweeping measures of the ETS on California employers.

“In the weeks and months following Governor Newsom’s emergency declaration in March, California farmers and processors moved quickly to implement dramatic new safety practices aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace,” said Dave Puglia, President & CEO of Western Growers. “While these measures helped reduce transmission in workplaces, this virus has swept through communities large and small in spite of lockdown orders and mask mandates, and through every sector of the economy as well despite extraordinary efforts by employers and employees alike. The Board imposed unrealistic, unfounded and economically harmful standards in total disregard of these realities. We have no choice but to seek judicial relief.”

The lawsuit filed by lead attorney David A. Schwarz, Kent R. Raygor and Barbara Taylor, with Sheppard Mullin, argues that in enacting the emergency regulations without due process, the Board failed to explain the causal link between the ETS and the emergency situation to be addressed, or to adequately justify the necessity of the new rules. Additionally, the complaint contends that many of the regulations have nothing to do with workplace health or occupational safety but are designed to address non-work-related COVID-19 exposure risks.

We will keep our members informed of the latest legal proceedings.

Click here to read the full press release.

Click here for a fact sheet that details the basis for the legal challenge.

Click here for the full text of the complaint with exhibits.

For more information, contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.