Produce Litigation (PACA)

We represent vendors and suppliers of perishable agricultural commodities, including local and out-of-state growers, dealers, brokers, commission merchants, grocery wholesalers and retailers, litigating claims against non-paying produce buyers and purchasers in federal court when settlement efforts fail.  We also advise clients regarding informal and formal reparation proceedings before the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”).  Claims are typically governed by the federal Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 1930, as amended (“PACA”).

Some of our notable experience includes:

  • Successfully represented out-of-state and local PACA Trust creditors (unpaid produce vendors and suppliers) as lead and local counsel in federal lawsuits against local PACA Trust debtors (non-paying produce buyers and purchasers) and their principals.  Secured judgment on behalf of local produce creditor against out-of-state produce debtors.
  • Obtained prompt settlement of PACA lawsuits shortly after initiating litigation, resulting in more favorable recoveries on behalf of produce vendors and suppliers net of attorneys’ fees.
  • Served as court-appointed PACA Trust counsel for 2.5 years on behalf of defunct local produce company.  Pursued PACA Trust debtors, commenced third-party claims, negotiated settlements, collected in excess of $170,000 in receivables, and issued pro rata distributions to PACA Trust creditors.
  • Commenced supplemental proceedings against PACA judgment debtors and third-party banks. Successfully froze and procured funds in partial satisfaction of judgments on behalf of PACA judgment creditors held in judgment debtors’ bank accounts.
  • Preferred Illinois law firm for industry group that refers PACA claimants to legal counsel when mediation efforts fail.
  • Pursued claims against transportation, logistics, shipping, freight, truck and rail companies on behalf of produce suppliers and vendors.
  • General representation of local restaurants, snack food maker, gluten-free bakery.
  • Authored articles on pertinent legal topics for Blueprints – The Produce Professionals’ Quarterly Journal (published by Blue Book Services).
  • Publisher of the Teeple Leonard & Erdman Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Blog (TLE PACA Blog).

Generally speaking, a “perishable agricultural commodity” or “produce” means fresh fruits and fresh vegetables of every kind and character (whether or not frozen or packed in ice).  It also includes cherries in brine in some cases.  The USDA maintains a non-exhaustive list of perishable agricultural commodities covered by PACA.

Free initial consultation.  Contact us at (312) 675-6084 or contactus@teeplelaw.com