The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) was enacted to promote fair trade in the fruit and vegetable industry. PACA protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices and helping companies resolve business disputes.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for administering PACA laws and regulations. AMS also offers a forum and procedures to buyers and sellers of produce to resolve their disputes before going to a formal court proceeding.
Produce traders who suffer damages resulting from a PACA statute violation can file an informal complaint with the PACA. The informal complaint requires a $100 filing fee and most importantly, must be filed within nine months from the time the buyer accepted the product.
PACA has an initial informal settlement process. However, If a settlement is not reached, a formal complaint can be filed for a $500 filing fee. The formal complaint is handled by an agent of the Secretary of Agriculture.
Based on the evidence, the PACA adjudicator will issue a decision and may award monetary damages, plus interest. If the award is not paid within 30 days, the PACA division automatically suspends the party’s PACA license until the award is paid.
Though administrative and expedited in nature, the PACA formal dispute resolution process has a lot of similarities to court proceedings and in that sense, it is important to have an experienced litigation firm handling the dispute.
For more information about agricultural or PACA disputes contact an experienced PACA attorney at Ayala at 305-570-2208.
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You can schedule a case evaluation online with a PACA litigation lawyer at https://www.lawayala.com/