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Perez v. Blue Mt. Farms

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

August 9, 2013

THOMAS E. PEREZ, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff,
v.
BLUE MOUNTAIN FARMS, BLUE MOUNTAIN FARMS PACKING, RYAN BROCK, SHIRLEY LOTT, and JOHN AND JANE DOES I through XX, Defendants

Page 1165

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1166

For Thomas E Perez, Secretary of Labor United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff: Evan H Nordby, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Seattle, WA; Bruce Lee Brown, U S Department of Labor - SEA, Office of the Solicitor, Seattle, WA.

For Blue Mountain Farms, Jane Does I - XX, John Does I - XX, Shirley Lott, Ryan Brock, Blue Mountain Farms Packing, Defendants: Timothy J Bernasek, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue LLP, Portland, OR.

For John Does I - XX, Blue Mountain Farms Packing, Jane Does I - XX, Shirley Lott, Blue Mountain Farms, Ryan Brock, Counter Claimants: Timothy J Bernasek, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue LLP, Portland, OR.

For Thomas E Perez, Secretary of Labor United States Department of Labor, Counter Defendant: Evan H Nordby, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Seattle, WA; Bruce Lee Brown, U S Department of Labor - SEA, Office of the Solicitor, Seattle, WA.

OPINION

Page 1167

ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON, Chief United States District Court Judge.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Before the Court is the Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order (" TRO" ), which the Court is treating as a motion for a preliminary injunction, ECF No. 2. The Court has reviewed the motion and supporting declaration, the response and supporting declarations, the supplemental memorandum and supporting declarations, the supplemental response, the reply, and the declarations filed concurrently with the reply. Telephonic argument on the TRO issue was held on July 26, 2013. Telephonic argument on the preliminary injunction issue was held on August 7, 2013. The Court is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is the Secretary of Labor (" Secretary" ) of the United States Department of Labor (" Department" ). Defendants are two business entities and the two natural persons who own those business entities. Defendants are engaged in the practice of blueberry farming. On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, investigators from the Wage and Hour Division of the Department traveled to Defendants' blueberry packing shed in Walla Walla County, Washington. ECF Nos. 5 at 2, 13 at 6. The parties disagree over the nature and extent of cooperation between the parties on July 23. Compare ECF No. 5 at 3-4 with ECF No. 13 at 6-8. However, it is uncontested that on July 24, 2013, Defendants barred access to the investigators and threatened to call local law enforcement if the investigators did not leave the property. ECF No. 5 at 4.

On July 25, 2013, the Secretary filed the present action and contemporaneously moved the Court for a TRO, seeking to enjoin Defendants from barring entry to their fields and packing shed. ECF Nos. 1, 2. Defendants, without being formally served, opposed the TRO. A telephonic hearing was held on July 26, 2013. ECF No. 8. At the hearing, the Court denied the motion for TRO on the grounds that the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 had not been met. ECF No. 9. However, in the interest of expedience, the Court converted the motion to a motion for preliminary injunction and allowed supplemental filings on an expedited schedule. The converted motion is now ripe before this Court.

DISCUSSION

" A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public ...


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