For the purposes of this appeal from summary judgment, we assume the following facts, which we perceive to be either undisputed or the reasonable inferences of disputed facts construed in the light most favorable to the Johnsons as the nonmoving parties.
In the 1990s, Oluf and Debra Johnson began the three-year process of converting their conventional family farm to a certified-organic farm to realize the higher market prices for organic produce and seeds. Oluf Johnson posted signs at the farm‘s perimeter indicating that it was chemical free, maintained a buffer zone between his organic fields and his chemical-using neighbors‘ farms, and implemented a detailed crop-rotation plan. He also notified commercial pesticide sprayer Paynseville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Company of the transition. He specifically asked the cooperative to take precautions to avoid overspraying pesticide onto his fields when treating adjacent fields.
Despite the Johnsons‘ requests, in 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2008, the cooperative sprayed pesticide and herbicide on fields adjacent to theirs in a manner that violated Minnesota law, causing chemicals to land on the Johnsons‘ farm. Oluf Johnson complained to the cooperative after the 1998 incident, and it apologized, promising to “make it right.” But when the Johnsons gave the cooperative an invoice documenting their losses from the overspray, the cooperative refused to pay.
Judge(s): Kevin G. Ross
Jurisdiction: Minnesota Court of Appeals
Related Categories: Environmental , Property , Torts
|Court of Appeals Judge(s)|
|Larry Stauber, Jr.|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Arlo Vegte||Arlo H. Vande Vegte, P.A.|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Kevin Gray||Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd|
|Matthew Moehrle||Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd|