BATES et al. v. DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
No. 03-388.Argued January 10, 2005--Decided April 27, 2005
Petitioner Texas peanut farmers allege that their crops were severely damaged by the application of respondent's (Dow) "Strongarm" pesticide, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered pursuant to its authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Petitioners gave Dow notice of their intent to sue, claiming that Strongarm's label recommended its use in all peanut-growing areas when Dow knew or should have known that it would stunt the growth of peanuts in their soil, which had pH levels of at least 7.0. In response, Dow sought a declaratory judgment in the Federal District Court, asserting that FIFRA pre-empted petitioners' claims. Petitioners counterclaimed, raising several state-law claims sounding in strict liability, negligence, fraud, and breach of express warranty. The District Court rejected one claim on state-law grounds and found the others barred by FIFRA's pre-emption provision, 7 U. S. C. §136v(b). Affirming, the Fifth Circuit held that §136v(b) expressly pre-empted the state-law claims because a judgment against Dow would induce it to alter its product label.