A federal judge has granted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by workers in the meatpacking industry seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the agency to obtain a court order directing a meatpacking plant “to abate imminent dangers to its employees related to the transmission of COVID-19.” The court determined that the relevant section of the Occupational Safety and Health Act “affords employees relief only in those instances where the Secretary has been presented with a finding of imminent danger by an OSHA inspector and has arbitrarily and capriciously rejected the recommendation to take legal action.”
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging OSHA’s Enforcement of Pandemic Protocols
Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging USDA’s Avian Flu Control Plan
A federal judge has denied the United States Department of Agriculture’s Motion to dismiss a case brought by the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and Mercy for Animals alleging that the agency’s adoption of a response plan to avian flu is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Procedure Act, and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations.
Smithfield to Pay Almost $8 Million to Settle Wage Suit
Smithfield Packaged Meats Corporation has agreed to pay $7.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company failed to properly pay workers overtime during the pandemic.
OIG to Examine USDA’s Handling of Coronavirus Pandemic
The Office of Inspector General is reportedly reviewing the United States Department of Agriculture’s handling of inspections at meatpacking plants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Congress Considers Legislation to Prevent Future Pandemics
House Bill 151, the Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2021, would require a national study on the risk of live animal markets, promote international collaboration to push for a global ban on commercial wildlife markets and enforcement of existing laws to end wildlife trafficking, appropriate $300,000,000 to reduce international demand for wildlife consumption, and prohibit the importation of wildlife into the United States.
Tyson Faces Shareholder Derivative Suit
A new lawsuit alleges fifteen directors breached their fiduciary duty with regard to the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint cites insufficient provision of PPE to workers, failure to warn employees of possible exposure to positive cases of the coronavirus, efforts to have the industry deemed “essential,” wrongful death lawsuits, and false and misleading statements regarding the company’s handling of the pandemic.
Rhode Island Considers Ban on New Live Animal Markets
Rhode Island House Bill 5771 would prohibit the operation of live animal markets, defined as “a market or sales site in which a vendor slaughters live animals or poultry upon customer purchase,” that is “not already in existence.”
Oregon Considers Ban on Live Animal Markets and Requiring Report on Zoonotic Diseases
Oregon House Bill 3204 would direct the state to prepare a report analyzing the state’s current framework for addressing zoonotic diseases, establish a list of wildlife that may not be possessed in the state due to potential transmission of zoonotic diseases, and prohibit the live sale of non-native wildlife for the purpose of human consumption. “Livestock” and “shellfish” would be exempted from the non-native sale prohibition.
Massachusetts Legislation Would Expand Housing Options for Companion Animals During Economic Crisis
Massachusetts House Bill 2778 and Senate Bill 1248 would temporarily prohibit any landlord from initiating action to evict a person from a residential unit based on the presence of an animal, prohibit any hotel from “unreasonably” refusing companion animals, and prohibit any breed-specific regulations.
California Court Orders Foster Farms to Comply with Pandemic Protocols
A California judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Foster Farms requiring the company to comply with CDC COVID-19 safety measures.