June 16, 2017

Duarte Nursery final pre-trial hearing statement

By Duarte Nursery final pre-trial hearing statement

PLF Senior Attorney Tony Francois and client John Duarte provide commentary and thoughts before the final pre-trial hearing on Friday, June 16, in the controversial federal prosecution of a California farmer because he plowed his own property, to grow wheat, without asking permission from wetlands regulators.

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Duarte Nursery v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, in rural Tehama County, California, received a cease and desist order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for engaging in normal farming activities (i.e., plowing) that purportedly affected wetlands. Duarte was not permitted any type of hearing to defend himself. Duarte, represented by PLF, sued the Corps for violating his due process rights. The Corps retaliated by suing Duarte for millions of dollars in fines based on rain puddles on the company’s property that the government says are protected wetlands under the Clean Water Act. After five years of litigation, Duarte reached a settlement to protect his family, business, and employees from ruinous fines.

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