Raisin Growers Must ‘Opt-in’ to Class Action Lawsuit

Brian GermanFruits & Vegetables

Growers have until October 6, 2017, to send in their “opt-in” claim forms as part of a class action lawsuit on behalf of the California raisin industry.  After a court order issued by Judge Loren A. Smith of the U.S. Court of Claims, Washington, D.C., forms have been mailed to 6,000 raisin growers allowing them to participate in the Raisin Reserve Class Action.

Class Action LawsuitBob F. Hansen and other family members originally filed the class action lawsuit on August 26, 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the USDA raisin program constituted a “taking” of private property subject to just compensation under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in June.

After the harvest of 2010, the USDA no longer enforced the reserve pools program, however, claims in this litigation go back to the 2002 raisin crop.  The United States government argues that the Horne decision does not justify payment in this case and that the statute of limitations should be limited to just the 2009 raisin crop.

The class action has been filed on behalf of all California raisin growers and is intended to recover damages that growers incurred by following the law as they knew it at the time, prior to 2015.  Federal law requires growers who wish to sign up as part of the lawsuit must “opt in”, or they will not be included. Claim forms must be returned to the claims administrator before the deadline.