WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

 

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Courts interrupt Pacific Seafood’s expansion plans

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From Attorney Michael Haglund representing fishermen in the case.

A federal judge in Medford has issued a broadly worded preliminary injunction against Pacific Seafood Group prohibiting the company from taking any action whatsoever to acquire or control assets of Ocean Gold Seafoods or its affiliated companies. Judge Owen Panner also scheduled an expedited trial in the case, setting a July 21 trial date on the issue of whether the preliminary injunction should be made permanent.

Based upon data from a predecessor case initiated by some of the same West Coast fishermen who are plaintiffs in the current case, Pacific Seafood Group held large market shares in three West Coast seafood markets, 53% in groundfish, 65% in whiting and 71% in shrimp. These figures included production from Ocean Gold Seafoods, the largest capacity processor on the West Coast, because Pacific Seafood Group has had the exclusive rights to market all of Ocean Gold’s production under an agreement that expires in early 2016.

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“This is a major victory for the plaintiff fishermen and for the future of competition in three of the four largest seafood markets on the West Coast,” said plaintiffs’ counsel Mike Haglund. “If this case results in a permanent injunction, Ocean Gold Seafoods will be free and independent and what have been highly concentrated markets will be significantly improved by more robust competition that benefits both fishermen and American consumers.”

In a significant development, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a friend of the court brief in the case strongly supporting the issuance of a preliminary injunction. The Attorney General characterized Pacific Seafood’s proposed acquisition as “presumptively unlawful.” This point was quoted with approval in Judge Panner’s Order.

Pacific Seafood Group’s multiple motions to dismiss the case on various grounds were all denied.

Attorney Michael Haglund is also the lead attorney on behalf of Fishermen’s Wives and others in their attempt to keep the Coast Guard helicopter rescue operation open in Newport.

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