Lawsuit against Nebraska Brand Committee paints background of brand law discussion


Christopher Bolin, The Fence Post

Nov 18, 2020


ALLIANCE, Neb. — The brand law working group met for its final session in North Platte on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to finalize discussions about LR 378 proposals which cattle industry stakeholders brought to the table last month. The current Nebraska Brand Act has undergone several tweaks over the years; however, the last significant overhaul of the act was in 1999, more than two decades ago, when the legislature passed LB 778.


However, as these working group discussions have progressed, in the background one of the state’s largest cattle feeders has taken legal action against the Nebraska Brand Committee in Box Butte County District Court over a nearly decade-long agreement regarding brand inspection exemptions.


Adams Land and Cattle Co., a registered feedlot in Broken Bow on the east edge of Nebraska’s brand inspection area, filed the lawsuit on Aug. 31, with a subsequent amended complaint filed on Sept. 1, seeking to maintain a 2009 agreement it brokered with the Nebraska Brand Committee to exempt cattle from being brand inspected when moving from background facilities into its registered feedlot (RFL).


That deal potentially saved Adams hundreds of thousands of dollars in inspection fees over the last decade; however, the brand committee has argued in a series of letters that the agreement was not authorized under statutes and that it should have never entered into it in the first place.


The lawsuit indicates that Adams is being represented by attorneys Gregory C. Scaglione and Adam J. Wachal of Omaha’s Koley Jessen. A motion to dismiss the lawsuit was filed on Oct. 2 and shows that the Brand Committee is being represented by Assistant Attorneys General Joshua E. Dethlefsen and Justin D. Lavene. They argue that Adams “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”


The brand committee’s motion to dismiss is set to be heard in Box Butte County District Court by Judge Travis O’Gorman on Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.