Stephen J. Meyer

Stephen J. Meyer

Counsel / Co-Chair, Food and Agriculture Group

Stephen J. Meyer

Counsel / Co-Chair, Food and Agriculture Group

Stephen Meyer has over thirty years of experience with complex business litigation with a particular focus in the last several years on food and agriculture.

He advises some of California's largest agricultural producers on environmental, finance, and business disputes, and has handled matters involving dairies, cattle feeding, fertilizer and pesticide distribution and regulation, egg production, animal welfare, crop damage, food processing, and agricultural finance.  More recently he organized the Food & Agriculture Practice, an interdisciplinary group that has grown rapidly by emphasizing collaboration and cooperation across the broad spectrum of specialty practices at the firm with a focus on food and agriculture in California.

He has represented clients in other areas including banking, oil and gas, pipeline distribution, real estate development, as well as representing public entities. In recent years, he has expanded his practice into alternative dispute resolution, bringing his experience as litigator and mediator, to helping parties resolve business, commercial and environmental disputes.

Experience

Food and Agricultural Litigation

  • Represented a major egg producer in matters regarding Proposition 2, including litigation as well as negotiation regarding legislation and regulation at both the Federal and State level.
  • Represented a major cattle feeding operation in litigation where feeding practices and accounting issues were disputed.
  • Represented parties in disputes regarding milk pricing including litigation with private parties and disputes with State regulatory agencies.
  • Represented large grocery chain regarding disputes with the Department of Pesticide Regulation regarding claims that certain products were subject to DPR jurisdiction because of alleged pesticidal representations.
  • Represented large fertilizer manufacturer regarding false claims by competitors that their fertilizer products were organic when in fact that proved clearly not to be true.
  • Outside General Counsel for the largest organic fertilizer manufacturer in the western states advising regarding State and Federal organic rules and regulations permitting, product safety issues, and business issues. In this regard expertise developed on the general laws and rules regarding organic agriculture and has testified to legislative committees on these issues.

Environmental Litigation

  • Represented as Chief Co-Liaison Counsel for 150 defendants, as well as counsel for the target defendant, in the Lodi groundwater contamination case. This was a highly complex and notorious lawsuit that involved multiple agencies, bizarre financial structures, and incentives for obstruction that almost ruined the City of Lodi financially, and, if written, about would read more like a novel. This case was successfully settled after more than five years for no more than what would have been offered at the beginning of the lawsuit.
  • Represented several Clean Water Act cases involving various businesses including lumber mills, parking lots, mining operations, and waste treatment plants, all of which were favorably resolved.
  • Represented on a RCRA/CERCLA/nuisance case with the owner of a landfill in Imperial County where alleged hazardous waste was hauled from the client's geothermal power plant, which was settled on favorable terms involving minimal financial contribution.

Business Litigation

  • Represented a number of financial institutions, principally community banks over a 30 year period in wide range of lawsuits, which included lender liability claims, RICO actions, class actions, as well as work out negotiations by and between the Banks and their commercial/business customers. A number of these matters involved multiple institutions and complex financing arrangements involving large financial commitments and major projects. On all of these matters I have been the Lead Counsel and they have been resolved by trial, court order, or settlement on terms the clients viewed as favorable.
  • Outside General Counsel for several years for a large Sacramento community bank (which eventually was sold to a large national bank), advising the Board, advising on regulatory matters, and conducting the Bank's litigation.  And Stephen Meyer has also represented several other community banks on a variety of matters including litigation
  • Represented several businesses including accounting firms in business and partnership dissolution and disputes by and between members/ partners/shareholders, all of which were favorably resolved by Order or settlement.
  • Represented landowners in various disputes involving their real property, including partition claims, trespass claims and nuisance claims. Recently successfully represented through trial verdict large landowner facing adverse possession claims for significant acreage bordering a private golf course.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Member of the Dean's Advisory Council, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
  • Member of Advisory Council for the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, University of California
  • Member of Executive Committee of the Agribusiness Committee State Bar of California, Business Law Section
  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section, Past Co-Chair Sacramento Program Committee; Past Member Executive Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Member, State Bar of California, Environmental & Litigation Sections
  • Member, American Agricultural Law Association
  • Member, Sacramento County Farm Bureau
  • Member,Sacramento County Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Board of Directors, Cal Aggie Alumni Association
  • Board of Directors, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
  • Former Board Member, Valley Vision
  • Former Board Member, Diogenes House
  • Former Member, Milton L. Schwartz Inn of Court
  • Former Reporter, American Bar Association, Environmental Litigation Committee Newsletter

Honors And Rankings

  • AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, 1985–present
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, 2007-2016
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Environmental Litigation, 2009-present 
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Business Litigation, 2015
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2016

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