Judge’s ruling drove Dan Brown out of farming — now he’s appealing the case

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

Former Maine Farmer Dan Brown, interviewed by television reporter. Photo via The Complete Patient blog.

“Lawyers for Maine farmer Dan Brown say a judge who issued an injunction last April barring him from selling raw milk “completely overlooked” that he would have had to spend $62,500 to comply with regulations to obtain a state permit for his one-cow dairy.

As a result, “The injunction has put Mr. Brown’s farm out of business,” according to a brief filed on behalf of Brown by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to appeal the decision by Superior Court Judge Ann Murray.  In addition, Brown was assessed $1,132 in fines and court costs. 

That judicial error was one of a series of mistakes alleged by Brown’s lawyers in two briefs filed with an appeals court. Among the errors alleged:

* That Judge Murray refused to recognize the fact that Brown was selling his milk without a license based on advice he received from state dairy regulators. It was consistent with the fact that for 30 years prior to the judge’s decision, Maine’s Department of Agriculture had told small producers like Brown that they didn’t need to obtain a milk producer’s license so long as they didn’t advertise their raw milk and sold it only from the farm.

* As a result of the 30-year policy allowing small farms to sell milk without a license, the “health consequences” the state argued to justify Brown needing to obtain a license are without any basis. “It …defies credulity to think that the Department would have for over 30 years knowingly exposed the consuming public to what are now being described as ‘serious public health consequences’ by not requiring farmers like Mr. Brown to obtain a milk distributor’s license.”…”

More on The Complete Patient blog.

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