Raisin producers in the San Joaquin Valley around Fresno CA are in trouble. Their industry is subject to a Federal Marketing Order and administrative regulation by a quasi-governmental "Raisin Advisory Committee". During the past 4 years, this RAC has ordered that large parts of the annual raisin crop be placed in reserve, where it is controlled by the RAC,and only small sums are paid back to the producers. Remaining raisins "taken" to suport an export program.
When a group found a new approach and a way to market their product directly to consumers, the RAC objected, feared loss of control. It, and the USDA brought rules volation allegations.
The raisin growers looked for help. They hired Domina Law pc during the week of February 8, and extended hearing brought the survival issue for raisin farmers to light. David Domina and Michael Stumo represented the raisin producers . Domina said the Government's case showed a narrow investigation and an unwillingness to foucs on the real issues, including the statutes and applicable Regulations.
Domina presented proof that raisin producers lost $45 million to raisin packers because the RAC forced producers to divert monies due to producers to support packer-rewarding export programs. In a forceful Opening Statement, Domina said "The people I represent simply want to market their crops direct. They are looking for no more advantage or benefit than the packers who produce raisins have. The rules are not being bent or violated."
February 14, 2005
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