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News and Investigations

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Spearmint Oil Producers May Be Owed Money by the Federal Government

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We are investigating whether spearmint oil growers who are subject to the Far West Spearmint Oil Marketing Order, 7 CFR § 985, may have claims against the federal government. The Spearmint Oil Marketing Order applies to spearmint oil produced in the “far west,” which includes the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, as well as parts of Nevada and Utah.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that a similar federal regulation, the California Raisin Marketing Order, 7 CFR § 989, violated the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, because it was a physical appropriation of raisins required to be held in reserve for the government.

Like the California Raisin Marketing Order, the Spearmint Oil Marketing Order requires handlers of Spearmint Oil to turn over certain percentages of the spearmint oil that they produce each year to an industry committee, which acts as an agent of the government. The government does not compensate the spearmint oil growers for that reserve oil, unless and until the industry committee earns net profits over and above its costs. Those profits are generally far less than the market value of the spearmint oil, which the government requires be set aside as reserves.

If you are a spearmint oil grower, you may be entitled to compensation for the fair market value of the spearmint oil that you have been required to set aside as reserves for the federal government. For more information, please complete the form below or call Miranda Kolbe at 415.788.4220 for a free legal consultation.