Today, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., unanimously vindicating the rights of consumers who paid a premium “organic” price for conventionally grown produce that was deliberately mislabeled as organic. Ray Boucher and Maria Weitz of Boucher LLP joined forces with Alan Mansfield of Whatley Kallas LLP and Public Justice’s Leslie Brueckner and Jennifer Bennett to achieve this major victory for consumers.

This is the first appellate court in the country to reject federal preemption under the Organic Food Production Act. In so ruling, the California Supreme Court squarely rejected the California Court of Appeal’s conclusion that the federal Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) preempted (entirely wiped out) consumer claims. The only other appellate court to reach this issue, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case called Aurora Dairy, found consumer fraud claims are impliedly preempted by the OFPA. Since that decision, no appellate court has allowed any consumer to sue for consumer fraud involving organic products—until today.

Leslie Brueckner, who argued the case before the California Supreme Court, writes more at the Public Justice Blog: