Judge James P. Arguelles issued a final ruling on August 3, 2020 on the STOP QIP lawsuit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which challenged the Quota Implementation Plan on the grounds that CDFA did not follow proper procedure when implementing it. The Judge denied STOP QIP’s petition for writ of mandate.
The oral argument for this case was held last Friday, July 31. Prior to the hearing, the Judge had issued a tentative ruling, which signaled that he disagreed with the STOP QIP argument. There was about an hour and fifteen minutes of back and forth between the lawyers and the Judge at the hearing. At the end, the Judge closed the hearing without making a ruling. His ruling came out on Monday and it did not materially change from the tentative ruling. The Judge’s opinion makes for interesting reading and you can see it here. In essence, the Judge rejects the claim by STOP QIP that Section 62757, the 2017 law that authorized CDFA to establish a “stand-alone” quota program, required the Department to hold a formal public hearing before putting the QIP up for a producer referendum. For now, the Judge’s decision puts an end to this portion of the legal challenge to the QIP, but of course an appeal is always a possibility.
Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs