Enforcing a PACA Reparations Order – San Diego PACA Attorney
After an administrative law judge orders one party to pay another as part of the PACA reparations process, the prevailing party must then enforce that order, known as a “reparations order.”
It should first be stated that, like Court-ordered judgment, reparations orders can be appealed. An appealing party must adhere to the time limits for filing an appeal and must deposit a bond with the USDA for twice the amount of the reparations award, which can be in either cash or the form of a surety bond. The proper filing of an appeal prevents any enforcement of the reparations award, pending the resolution of that appeal.
In the absence of a proper appeal, the prevailing party to a reparations order may enforce a money award via two (2) methods: (i) license suspension by the USDA; and (ii) filing an enforcement action before the United States District Court where the losing party is located.
In the event that the losing party does not properly appeal the reparations order and does not pay the award within thirty (30) days of the date on which the award becomes final, the USDA automatically suspends that party’s PACA license. The result is that the person or entity whose license is suspended may not legally trade in produce within the United States. The USDA may additionally file actions preventing persons associated with the suspended licensee from working in the United States produce industry for a period of time. The USDA even maintains a link on its website where anyone can check and see if a person has a PACA disciplinary order pending against them.
Filing an enforcement action before the United States District Court simply entails the filing of a suit to enforce the award, a copy of which must be served upon the losing party. These proceedings are generally quick and result in court-ordered judgments, which may include attorney’s fees.