Dawson Farms v. Risk Management Agency, No. 11-3118 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Dawson Farms challenged the RMA's denial of its crop-insurance claim alleging loss due to "tuber rot" in stored potatoes. A final agency review affirmed the RMA's denial of Dawson Farms' claim, finding that the insurance adjuster's sampling of the stored potatoes followed adequate sample procedures. Dawson Farms appealed the final agency decision to the district court, which affirmed. The court believed that, in light of the nature of the hearing officer's finding under review, the deputy director's statements made it reasonably discernable that the deputy director applied the correct legal standard and considered the record for the proper purpose of reviewing the hearing officer's decision for substantial evidence. The hearing officer based his conclusion largely on the testimony of an expert in potato pathology. The court also believed that, to the extent the deputy director's determination was a rejection of the hearing officer's finding that the adjuster had a duty to resample, the issue under review was a question of law. Consequently, the court found no abuse of discretion or arbitrary and capricious action by the deputy director. Further, the agency determination was supported by substantial evidence.