Success story: An occasion when a judge reversed his decision

Sharing your successes is important in business.  It strengthens the relationship with your clients and allows your team to celebrate their accomplishments.  We’ve had a recent success that involves a Phoenix potato farmer I represent.

What you may already know is that most vegetable plants start from a seed.  Many seeds are grown in the U.S., but also in foreign countries like Taiwan and Chili.  The seeds come to the U.S. and sometimes bring with them diseases that don’t manifest until it is near harvest time.

Our client in Phoenix lost a tremendous amount of his potato crop because of bacterial ring rot.  The loss then escalated because the land had to sit fallow for two years until there was no longer any risk of contamination for future crops.  Our Phoenix farmer purchased the seed potatoes from Fargo, ND, and so we turned to this farm to recover the loss.  At first, a federal judge in the North Dakota court system entered a ruling stating we didn’t have a case against the Fargo farm for more than the price of the seed.  Our team was faced with the challenge of providing clear and compelling evidence to the contrary.  In the space of one year, however, the judge made a 180 degree turn.  He reversed his decision.

We accomplished this by proving that the warehouse where the seed was stored at the Fargo farm could have been contaminated with bacterial ring rot.  Through photos and other evidence, we showed the judge proof of the highly unsanitary conditions and compared them to successful seed storage processes.

This case was a challenge and as attorneys it’s our job to educate the jury and the judge.  We have the experience relevant to our field of practice to do just that.



BIO: Michael Martin of Martin Law Office in Lakeland specializes in agriculture and environmental legal representation.  A native of Polk County, Mike attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Florida and has tried numerous cases nationwide since that time.  Mike also serves as the director of the FFA Foundation and is the author of the novel, The Crestfallen Rose.