An Amici Curiae brief has been filed on behalf of seven agricultural trade associations, including Western Growers Association, Ventura County Agricultural Association, Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County, Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, California Strawberry Commission and the California Fresh Fruit Association. The legal brief is intended to oppose the appeal filed by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from a U.S. District Court ruling decided in favor of Red Blossom, Inc. and Better Produce, Inc. The case, Luis Morales-Garcia v. Better Produce, Inc., was discussed in the Legal Issues Newsletter dated March 17, 2022.
This case will be the first appellate court decision interpreting California Labor Code Section 2810.3 in the context of agriculture, which imposes strict liability between a contractor and a client employer (in this case, a marketing agent) for violations of wage and hour laws and workers’ compensation requirements. The District Court also considered whether the marketing agents were subject to “joint employment” with the growers under the Migrant Seasonal Worker Protection Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. That question was decided by the lower court in favor of both of the marketing agents. If the 9th Circuit affirms the District Court’s decision, appellate court decision will serve as in important legal precedent, not just for the agricultural industry, but many other industries as well.