Why Would the Marler Blog Misrepresent the Facts Regarding Role of the FTCLDF in a Pending Raw Milk Case?
Of course, I’ tvehought the same about public health professionals as well. As we found out last week, Massachusetts public health officials were way off in asserting that there have been only three outbreaks involving pasteurized milk over the last thirty years.
Clearly, when it comes to raw milk, anything goes from some opponents. Now, we have what I would call misrepresentation about a legal case involving raw milk, from the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
Food poisoning lawyer Bill Marler published an item on his blog today with this heading: “Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund Loses Bid to Keep Documents Secret in Raw Milk Litigation.” It goes on to talk about a judge’s decision in a Missouri case, asserting “the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund tried to keep from the public documents it appears that it rather keep secret.”
Hmmm, I thought. I follow the FTCLDF’s cases, and I’ve never heard of a Missouri case in which it’s involved. Well, it turns out the FTCLDF hasn’t either.
So I called Bill Marler, and he explained that the whole thing relates to a case his firm filed against a Missouri raw dairy and a grocery store in connection with illnesses alleged to be from raw goat’s milk. It turns out, this is a significant case, according to the Marler firm, with two children having allegedly become serious ill with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
A previous article on the case provides heart-rending descriptions of the allegedly serious illnesses of two of the children, and how they are at risk for life-threatening illnesses as they get older.
I don’t know about you, but when I read the Marler firm’s heading today, and the brief story, I understood that the FTCLDF was actively involved in the case ("tried to keep from the public documents..."), and had suffered a setback.
But that’s not the situation at all, the lawyer told me in a conversation today. The attorneys representing the grocery and the dairy his clients are suing have nothing to do with the FTCLDF. They simply argued in court that some documents emailed from the FTCLDF to the defendants before the case even launched (presumably simple bills of sale and boarding agreements, according to the FTCLDF), represented privileged information, protected from public scrutiny. Marler’s firm argued the documents should be available, and the judge agreed. The important thing is that FTCLDF didn’t make any arguments in the case, didn’t even know the arguments were being made.
Bill Marler told me he didn’t agree that the heading and article were misleading.
Am I missing something? If so, I'd like to know about it. But it seems to me you don't have to be an English major to understand that the heading and article strongly suggest active involvement by FTCLDF in arguing about release of the documents. Why would the Marler firm want to suggest that?
I’m not sure. Maybe because he doesn’t like the FTCLDF and the fact that it does represent other raw dairies, and fights for freedom of food choice. If you listen to state and federal regulators, they view producers of raw dairy products as nothing less than scofflaws.
If nothing else, this situation suggests, once again, as if we need reminding, that the war over raw milk isn’t a war about public safety, but rather a war for hearts and minds. It’s a political war.
As Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. points out in a comment following my previous post, the court suit against California officials over the coliform standard contained in AB 1735 isn't dead yet. I had reported last month that the suit was being withdrawn because Claravale owner Ron Garthwaite had had enough. It seems the appeals court wants to consider whether to rule on the case. I guess as one-time Yankee catcher Yogi Berra says, "It ain't over till it's over."