Poultry Growers Bill Clears House Committee

ARKANSAS - A bill that guarantees a poultry grower’s right to sue over contracts with his poultry company cleared the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday with no opposition.

House Bill 1570 by Rep. Scott Sullivan, D-DeQueen, allows poultry growers to take a contract dispute with the poultry company to court. Some poultry contracts have provisions that say all such disputes with growers must go to arbitration, which requires both sides to hire a professional arbitrator.

The bill does not prevent arbitration if all parties involved agree to it, Sullivan told the committee. If either party wants to go to court, however, they can file under the provision of the bill.

“Arbitration is tantamount to no recourse at all,” bill supporter Rep. Robert Thompson, D-Paragould, told the committee. “It costs $100 to file a case in circuit court.” Hiring an arbitrator could cost up to $16,000 if a claim of more than $1 million is involved, Thompson said.

Morril Harriman, director of the Little Rock-based Poultry Federation, said he “respectfully disagreed” that arbitration was cost-prohibitive for growers. While the initial cost of filing a lawsuit was relatively low compared to hiring an arbitrator, the cost of a lawsuit in both money and time for all parties involved was significantly greater in many cases, Harriman said.

Source: Times Record
calendar icon 24 February 2005
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