Bates+v+Dow - Page 1 LEXSEE 544 U.S. 431 DENNIS BATES, et...

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Page 1 LEXSEE 544 U.S. 431 DENNIS BATES, et al., Petitioners v. DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC No. 03-388 SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 544 U.S. 431 ; 125 S. Ct. 1788 ; 161 L. Ed. 2d 687 ; 2005 U.S. LEXIS 3706 ; 73 U.S.L.W. 4311 ; 60 ERC (BNA) 1129 ; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P17,255 ; 35 ELR 20087 ; 18 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 255 January 10, 2005, Argued April 27, 2005, Decided PRIOR HISTORY: ON WRIT OF CERTI- ORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. Dow Agrosciences L.L.C. v. Bates, 332 F.3d 323, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 12012 (5th Cir. Tex., 2003) DISPOSITION: Vacated and remanded. DECISION: [***687] Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as amended (7 U.S.C.S. §§ 136 et seq.) , held not to pre-empt at least some state-law claims, by Texas peanut farm- ers, for damages from particular pesticide's al- legedly injuring farmers' crops. SUMMARY: The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Ro- denticide Act, as amended (FIFRA) ( 7 U.S.C.S. §§ 136 et seq. ), generally provides for the fed- eral regulation of covered pesticides, including registration and labeling requirements. While 7 U.S.C.S. § 136v(a) authorizes some regula- tion of pesticides by a state, a pre-emption pro- vision, 7 U.S.C.S. § 136v(b) , says that, "Such State shall not impose or continue in effect any requirements for labeling or packaging in addi- tion to or different from those required under this subchapter." A particular pesticide had been registered by the pesticide's manufacturer with the Envir- onmental Protection Agency (EPA), pur- portedly pursuant to the latter's authority under FIFRA. Some Texas peanut farmers alleged that in the 2000 growing season, their crops had been severely damaged by the application of this pesticide. The manufacturer filed a declar- atory-judgment action in a Federal District Court, asserting that the farmers' claims were expressly or impliedly pre-empted by FIFRA. The farmers brought a variety of counterclaims under state law. However, the District Court granted a motion by the manufacturer for sum- mary judgment, as the court (1) rejected one claim on state-law grounds, and (2) dismissed the remainder as expressly pre-empted by § 136v(b) . The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in affirming, (1) expressed the view that § 136v(b) pre-empted any state-law
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Page 2 claim in which a judgment against the manu- facturer would have induced it to alter its product label; and (2) ruled that the farmers' claims in question were pre-empted, including a purported strict-liability claim, alleging de- fective design, that the Court of Appeals treated as essentially a "disguised" failure-to-warn claim ( 332 F.3d 323 ). [***688]
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2010 for the course ESP 161 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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Bates+v+Dow - Page 1 LEXSEE 544 U.S. 431 DENNIS BATES, et...

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