The owners of a fourth-generation family farm in New Jersey that produces vegetables and other crops is fighting in court to overturn a $550,000 fine over a paperwork error – they used the wrong words to describe a meal program for employees.
Further, the lawsuit challenges the government agency that imposed the fine – the U.S. Department of Labor – for acting as prosecutor and judge in the action against the family.
..."These penalties could destroy a fourth-generation family farm, and yet they’ve been imposed without the Marinos ever seeing a real federal judge," said IJ Senior Attorney Rob Johnson. "The Constitution guarantees an independent judiciary, and that means employers like the Marinos are entitled to a real trial in a real court before the government can destroy their business."
...The Marinos fought inside the administrative law system for years, but found problems since the department "created the rules and the penalties," and then "employs the investigators, the administrative law judges that hear cases, and the board that considers appeals."...MORE