Gene Summerlin

View Gene Summerlin 's Martindale-Hubbell Connected Profile
Lincoln,  NE  U.S.A.

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Practice Areas

  • Food & Agribusiness
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Animal Health
  • Business Litigation
Contact InfoTelephone: 402.434.8042
Fax: 402.434.8044
University University of Nebraska-Lincoln, B.S., Agriculture, 1998
Law SchoolUniversity of Nebraska College of Law, J.D., with high distinction, 1991 Order of the Coif, American Jurisprudence Award for Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Arthur E. Perry Scholarship, Kutak Rock & Campbell Scholarship, National Trial Team, Roscoe Pound Memorial Award, Thomas Stinson Allen Award for Oral Advocacy, Nebraska Law Review, Executive Editor
Admitted1991, Nebraska; 1991, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska; 1995, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit; 2004, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois; 2005, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois; 2007, Omaha Tribal Courts

With deep experience in agriculture and civil litigation, Gene has advised clients in Nebraska and nationally for more than two decades. He represents livestock breed associations and organic agriculture trade associations, bringing creative solutions to the business challenges faced by producers and processors in the agriculture and food industries. In addition, he frequently writes for agribusiness trade publications and speaks to organic industry groups.

Among Gene's agribusiness accomplishments are:
• Serving as special counsel for the U.S. government in an investment-fraud case with $3 billion in assets.
• Defending cattle breed association against accusations that it engaged in monopolization and fraudulent conspiracy to control the national purebred cattle market.
• Representing farmers in a class action case alleging commercial harm by cross pollination of genetically modified corn.

Gene's experience includes large, multiparty cases that involve medical negligence, dissolution of partnerships, intellectual property rights and wrongful death.

Professional Associations and Memberships
• Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys
• Nebraska Bar Association
• Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court
• U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, Federal Practice Committee, 2009-2011; Federal Practice Budget Committee, 2010-2011

Awards and Recognitions
Great Plains Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2012-2014
• Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
• Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, Seeds of Justice Award, 2007

Civic Involvement
• Family First, advisory counsel, 1999-2001
• Grace Chapel, Haiti ministries coordinator, 2010-2013
• Latino Berean Church, Advisory Board, 2000-2002
• Lincoln East High School hockey coach, 2005-2013
• Lincoln Ice Hockey Association, Board of Directors, 2005-2010; president, 2007-2010; youth hockey coach, 1998-2013
• Lost Lamb Rescue Mission, Board of Directors, 1999-2001
• YMCA youth baseball, football, soccer and softball coach, 1997-2006
• Zion Presbyterian Church, Board of Deacons, 1995-2007; deacon chair, 1997-2007

• Representing defendant in a patent infringement case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado involving a method of using genetic merit to determine relative value of feed animals.
• Special counsel to the Department of Justice's U.S. trustee in a complex cattle investment-fraud case with $3 billion in assets.
• Class counsel for farmers who alleged commercial harm by cross pollination of genetically modified corn.
• Advertising injury coverage litigation arising from insurer's refusal to provide defense to antitrust, Lanham Act and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims brought against cattle breed association.
• Challenged Nebraska tax commissioner's methodology for equalization of centrally assessed property on behalf of pipeline companies and public service entities.
• Defended cattle breed association in litigation asserting that association engaged in monopolization and fraudulent conspiracy to control American purebred cattle market.
• Class action litigation brought on behalf of foster children challenging defects in Nebraska foster care system.
• Took action against the City of Lincoln, Neb., in constitutional litigation against city arising from passage of anti-picketing ordinance that violated plaintiffs' First Amendment speech rights.
• Won a federal ruling that forced a Nebraska prison to accommodate the kosher food request of a Muslim inmate.

Business Insights

Business Insights
9.11.14 Organic Certification Cost Share and Assistance Programs Available Under the 2014 Farm Bill
Food & Agribusiness Blog
8.06.14 GMO Labeling: Current Standards and Policies
Food & Agribusiness Blog
6.10.14 California Supreme Court to Decide Whether Organic Regulations Preempt State Consumer Labeling Claims
Food & Agribusiness Blog
4.28.14 USDA Launches 2014 Farm Bill Implementation Website
Food & Agribusiness Blog
4.26.14 Food Labeling at SCOTUS: Can FDA Compliant Labels Still be Deceptive?
Food & Agribusiness Blog
3.10.14 Supreme Court Invalidates Patents on DNA Markers, Beneficial to Cattle Producers
Food & Agribusiness Blog
2.24.14 An Organic Farmer Walks Into Monsanto...
Food & Agribusiness Blog
2.01.14 Supreme Court Invalidates Patents on DNA Markers, Beneficial to Cattle Producers, The Register
Food & Agribusiness Article
1.29.14 Jensen Brothers Sentenced for Listeria Outbreak: Lessons for Producers and Inspectors
Food & Agribusiness Blog
1.20.14 "All Natural" Food Labeling Litigation: Would a Rose by Any Other Name Really Still Smell as Sweet?
Food & Agribusiness Blog

In The News
10.03.14 In Nebraska, Five Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to 2014 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
News Release
9.09.13 In Nebraska and Texas, 13 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named 2013 Super Lawyers/Rising Stars
News Release
1.11.13 Marnie Jensen Adds Depth to Husch Blackwell's Lincoln Office
News Release
10.15.12 A Combined 84 Husch Blackwell Attorneys are Named 2012 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Missouri and Nebraska
News Release
7.02.12 Husch Blackwell Expands Talent, Capabilities in Lincoln
News Release


Documents by this lawyer on

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Substantive Review of NOP Appeals and the Resolution of Appeals
Gene Summerlin, December 8, 2014
In our last post, we discussed the procedural requirements necessary to pursue an appeal of an adverse action taken by the NOP, a State organic program, or an organic certification agency.

GMO Labeling: Current Standards and Policies
Gene Summerlin, August 11, 2014
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that a battle is brewing over labeling foods which contain genetically modified ingredients. According to a recent New York Times poll, 93% of American consumers favor labeling of some type for foods that contain genetically modified organisms...

California Supreme Court to Decide Whether Organic Regulations Preempt State Consumer Labeling Claims
Gene Summerlin, June 26, 2014
In Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., the California Court of Appeals held that state law labeling and deceptive trade practices claims arising from alleged mislabeling of organic products were preempted by the National Organic Program. The plaintiff sought review by the California Supreme Court...

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Office Information

Gene Summerlin

610 J Street, Suite 200
LincolnNE 68508


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