Vermont AG Announces Team to Fight GMO Lawsuit

Published 07/07 2014 04:26PM

Updated 07/07 2014 06:13PM

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Vermont Attorney General's Office has announced the team that will take on the lawsuit against Vermont and its GMO labeling law. It includes the help of a D.C. firm that will be paid nearly $1.5 million.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell has named Assistant Attorney General Megan Shafritz as the lead attorney on the case. Her team will include other members from the AG's office Jon Alexander, Kyle Landis-Marinello and Naomi Sheffield. They will be pitted against attorneys representing the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Food Association and National Association of Manufacturers.

Kate Duffy, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Human Services, is returning to the Attorney General's Office to be part of the GMO lawsuit team.

Sorrell also announced the state is hiring Lawrence Robbins, a partner of the D.C. law firm Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP. He will be paid $1.465 million for his work in lower court litigation. That means it does not include work done if the suit proceeds to an appeals court.

In a phone interview Monday Attorney General Bill Sorrell said the money to pay the law firm will come from the legal defense fund and appropriations from the state legislature. That money has not been approved yet but Sorrell has been vocal about the high expense of the incoming lawsuit.

The State of Vermont was supposed to offer a response to the lawsuit filed by Grocery Manufacturers Association et al by July 7. However both parties agreed to extend the deadline to August 8. Sorrell says that was to help accomodate building a team.

"We got our team together and now we're going to work," Sorrell said.

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