Cases & Deals

Vaquería Tres Monjitas successfully opposes Supreme Court review of regulatory taking case

Client(s) Vaquería Tres Monjitas

Jones Day was retained by Vaquería Tres Monjitas to oppose a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court filed on behalf of government officials and supported by twenty-six States. The district court held that Puerto Rican officials had unconstitutionally taken the property of milk processors through over-regulation, and required officials to implement a mechanism that would allow milk processors to recapture past losses. Arguing that the order violated their sovereign immunity by imposing retrospective monetary liability on the government, the officials appealed to the First Circuit. In an opinion dissenting from that court's denial of rehearing en banc, Chief Judge Sandra Lynch contended that the order violated the Eleventh Amendment and encouraged the Supreme Court to take the case.

The officials then sought review in the Supreme Court, arguing that the First Circuit had misapplied Supreme Court precedent and deepened a split among the federal circuits. Twenty-six states appeared as amicus curiae in support of the officials' petition and submitted a brief arguing that the case would broadly expand government liability and should be reversed.

Vaquería Tres Monjitas, Inc., one of the milk processors that had originally filed suit, engaged Jones Day to represent it before the Supreme Court. Jones Day's opposition to the petition rebutted claims that the case was of nationwide importance and argued that when the case was assessed in its proper legal context, there was no divide in the federal courts for the Supreme Court to resolve.

The Supreme Court initially asked the U.S. Solicitor General to submit a brief expressing its views on the issues. The Solicitor General's office ultimately submitted a brief adopting Vaquería Tres Monjitas' arguments and recommending against Supreme Court review. On May 16, 2011, the Supreme Court agreed and denied the petition for certiorari.

Aquino v. Suiza Dairy, Inc., No. 10-74, 131 S. Ct. 2441 (2011)