UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS
Bruce Ciapessoni, et al, Plaintiffs, v. The United States, Defendant
What event triggered the filing of this Class Action?
- On June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Marketing Order’s reserve-pool requirement effected “a clear physical taking” in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause for which just compensation was due.
Horne v. Dep’t of Agriculture,
- 135 S. Ct. 2419, 2428 (2015).Based on
- , Plaintiffs, on behalf of the Class brought this class action to recover just compensation for raisins produced by Class Members and subsequently taken by the USDA pursuant to the Marketing Order’s reserve requirement.
Which growers started this Class Action?
- Bruce Ciapessoni, Elisa Ciapessoni, Bob F. Hansen, Hansen Enterprises, R&H Agri-Enterprises, Eldora Rossi, Rossi & Ciapessoni Farms, and Rossi & Rossi initiated this action by filing with the United States Court of Federal Claims, Washington, D.C. on August 26, 2015 (Case No. 15-938).
What crop years and varieties are involved?
- The Court of Claims certified on May 11, 2017 two litigation classes:
- All producers who participated in reserve pools of Natural Seedless raisins for crop years 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010, and
- a Subclass of all producers who participated in the reserve pool for Natural Seedless for only the 2009-2010 crop year.
Why is there a Class and a Subclass?
- On November 20, 2016, the Court of Claims ruled, over the objection of the U.S. Government, that the statute of limitations could go back to 2002-2003.
- The U. S. government is reserving its right to appeal this decision and restrict the case to only the last crop year 2009-2010.
What do I need to do?
- If you want to participate, you will need to sign and return an “opt in” form which will be sent out by the Court.
What information is available for me?
- The orders of the Court are public. The May 11, 2017 Court order by Judge Loren A. Smith determined that:
- The growers who started this action have interests which are aligned with all other members of this class.
- The proceeding with this action on a class basis is superior to other means of fairly and efficiently adjudicating the case.
- The appointment of McDermott Will & Emery LLP as “Lead Counsel” and Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe LLP as “Co-Counsel” is in the best interests of the Class and Subclass.
Will joining the Class cost me any money?
- You will not have to pay any money out of pocket to participate in the Class Action. If the Class is successful, Class Counsel will ask the Court’s permission to be compensated for litigating this case and representing the Class. Any sums received by Class Counsel in compensation will be deducted from any recovery, which will proportionately reduce the amount of any award each Class Member receives. If the case is unsuccessful, you will have no obligation for attorney’s fees or costs.
What happens once I join the Class?
- If you are eligible to be a Class Member and choose to join the Class, you will receive any monetary or other benefits obtained from the lawsuit. A judgment in this case will be binding on you, meaning you could not pursue your own separate lawsuit using your own attorney. Similarly, you may be bound by, and can share in, any settlement reached on behalf of the class. In the event Class Counsel and the United States reach a settlement, you will receive notice of the settlement and you may object to the settlement and be heard by the Court on your objection.
Does it matter whether I am an RBA, Sun-Maid or independent grower?
- No. Your affiliation makes no difference in your ability to “opt in.”
Can I bring my own lawsuit rather than “opting in” the Class Action?
- Yes. Instead of opting in the class action, you can hire your own lawyers and file your own separate lawsuit for your benefit only. That is what Lion Farms has done.