“The Amish are reluctant participants in the legal system, no matter what the occasion. They prefer to stay very much within their own communities, and avoid conflict with the outside world.
But Dan Allgyer has put together a credible and cogent response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s motion for Summary Judgment in its move to implement a permanent injunction against interstate raw milk shipments from his farm. (Sorry, scanning difficulties prevent me from immediately posting the response.)
The FDA action is designed to deprive more than 900 Maryland families of raw milk (and other foods) they obtain through the Grassfed on the Hill food club.
Indeed, Allgyer claims that the FDA action “has created a serious dilemma” by “violating (his) due process and equal protection under the law.” So much so that he “is prepared to proceed with a public court forum, if necessary.”
The FDA obviously wants to avoid a public confrontation with an Amish farmer, which is why it filed a written motion for summary judgement in the first place. It hoped the judge would simply sign its pre-printed Permanent Injunction, allowing the big-shot Justice Department lawyers to walk away without having to confront their prey. No, a public hearing, with a humble dairy farmer making his own defense, in front of a courtroom full of buying club supporters, is not what the FDA had in mind when it launched this case last April.
Allgyer in his response makes two primary arguments. First, he contends he is operating a “private membership association” protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that protect right of assembly and due process. He contends he did away with his Rainbow Valley Farms as a business entity and that his “Rainbow Valley,a 1st and 14th (amendment) Private Membership Association, does exist and does not deal with the public; it only deals with private members…” He cites a number of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that make the case “that private membership associations are outside your jurisdiction and authority being exempt.”
In addition, he argues that the FDA’s action, though classified as a civil action, is in reality “a quasi-criminal action.” “It is a quasi criminal matter because of the severe sactions and consequences that could occur as a result of the FDA investigation and the inspection.” As such, he said, it “requires prior notice of the offense, probable cause and official complaint, which is totally lacking in this case.” …”