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Owner of elk farm cannot sue Department of Agriculture after it instituted quarantine

In 2008, the Department of Agriculture and the DNR instituted a statewide quarantine of all deer- and elk-breeding facilities to address an epidemic of the fatal, contagious Chronic Wasting Disease afflicting hooved animals.  The Ranch Rheaume, LLC sued the Departments, arguing that through arbitrary and unjustified state action over the course of a one-year quarantine, its business was "decimated."

The Court of Claims summarily dismissed the plaintiff's lawsuit, and the Ranch appealed.  The Court of Appeals ruled that the Ranch did not comply with the notice provisions contained in the statute that allows suits against a state agency--and that under recent revisions of how that statute should be interpreted, the state agencies need not show that it was prejudiced by the Ranch's notice deficiencies.  Furthermore, "substantial compliance" is no longer sufficient to meet the statutory notice requirements, and since the Ranch conceded that it did not serve the defendant Departments with a formal notice within six months of the "event," summary disposition was procedurally appropriate.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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