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Admitted to Practice

  • District of Columbia, 1985
  • Maryland, 1990
  • Virginia, 1984
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan

Chip English

Partner-in-Charge, Washington D.C.
Chip English concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation and regulatory matters for business and trade association clients, especially in food and agriculture. He is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in the food and agriculture industry, including over 25 years of experience in organic farming and processing regulation, and is well-versed in a multitude of agricultural regulatory programs. Chip handles significant FDA recall and other food safety issues. He regularly advises clients on labeling issues and defends clients against class action claims that products are mislabeled or misleading. Chip also focuses on constitutional matters involving the Commerce Clause, federal preemption, commercial speech, and the First Amendment.

Throughout the course of his career, Chip has represented clients before multiple state and federal agencies, including especially the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture where he has obtained numerous favorable rulings and results. He has also appeared successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court, in addition to arguing regularly before a number of district and appellate courts

Practice Highlights
  • Represents private parties and trade associations in federal court litigation challenging and defending federal and state regulatory decisions involving the food and beverage industry
  • Represents processor and producer groups in formal hearings and informal rulemaking before USDA and state agencies (e.g., California Department of Food and Agriculture)
  • Represents private parties in compliance, recall, and regulatory review before FDA
  • Counsels clients in enforcement actions and state and federal investigations
  • Provides legislative and lobbying support at state and federal levels

Representative Experience

Aurora Organic Dairy

Defended Aurora Organic Dairy against an activist complaint alleging violations of the “access to pasture” rules for organic certification by the National Organic Program at USDA. USDA conducted a monthslong investigation and found our client to be always in compliance with organic rules. (Ongoing)

Sandviks v. PhD Fitness LLC, Johnston et al v. PhD Fitness LLC, Bohr v. PhD Fitness

Defended PhD Fitness LLC against multiple class action claims that dietary supplements are mislabeled and make misleading claims, in federal courts in Michigan, South Carolina, and Illinois.

Carlin, et al. v. DairyAmerica, Inc. et al.

Defending class action alleging damage from purported improper reporting of product prices to USDA. (Ongoing)

Digimarc Corporation

Advising Digimarc in submitting comments on the USDA’s proposed rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. (Ongoing)

Federal Milk Marketing Order

Represented Dairy Institute of California in the promulgation of a California Milk Marketing Order, culminating in a two-month trial-like administrative rulemaking. (U.S. Dept. of Ag. 2018)

Agropur et al. v. Myrna Comas Pagan

Lead counsel for ORIL and Secretary of Agriculture against claim that recently adopted statute and regulations violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Successfully prevented a preliminary injunction from being granted. (2012-2014)

Hein Hettinga et al v. United States*

Amici support of United States obtaining U.S. District Court dismissal on the merits of bill of attainder claim against the Milk Regulatory Equity Act. 770 F.Supp.2d 51 (D.D.C.2011); 677 F.3d 471 (D.C. Cir. 2012)

Calliari v. Sargento*

Successfully defended breach of representation and warranty counterclaim that purchased assets lacked proper food plant license. No. 10-35736 (9th Cir. July 7, 2011)

Hein Hettinga et al. v. Vilsack*

Amici support of United States Department of Agriculture obtaining U.S. District Court dismissal on the merits of claim that USDA retroactively applied regulation. 2011 WL 1522458 (2010); aff’d, No. 10-15140 (9th Cir. Apr. 21, 2011)

International Dairy Foods Ass’n v. Boggs*

Reversed a U.S. District Court summary judgment granted against client resulting in summary judgment in favor of client on critical First Amendment issues; case was remanded to district court for final decision on the merits. Case settled after remand, with Ohio withdrawing its entire regulation scheduled for January 2012. 622 F.3d 628 (6th Cir. 2010)

Cloverland-Greenspring v. Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board*

Affirmed summary judgment in favor of client in defending a state agency against a commerce clause challenge. 462 F. 3rd 249 (3rd Cir. 2006)

Edaleen Dairy LLC v. Johanns*

Intervened on behalf of defendant United States Department of Agriculture and successfully defended, on failure to exhaust remedies grounds, against injunction sought against new USDA regulation. 467 F. 3rd 778 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

California Association of Nursery Growers v. Farmer*

Obtained injunction on preemption and dormant commerce clause grounds against Kentucky’s embargo of California nursery products already subject to United States Department of Agriculture quarantine. No. 04-38-JMH (E.D. Ky. 2004)

Hillside Dairy v. Lyons*

Prevailed in dormant commerce case brought by Nevada farmers against the California Department of Food & Agriculture; CDFA had obtained dismissal of case on grounds that Congress consented to exemption from dormant commerce clause analysis. Reversed and remanded for decision on the merits, 123 S.Ct. 2142 (2003); merits decision in favor of plaintiffs, 317 F. Supp.2d 1194 (E.D. Cal. 2004)
* Denotes experience completed at a prior firm

Additional Qualifications

  • Principal, Ober|Kaler, Washington, D.C., 2008-2012; 1992-2000
  • Partner, Thelen LLP, 2000-2008

Professional & Community Activities

  • Agricultural Law Association
  • Administrative Law Section; Litigation Section – American Bar Association

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers" in FDA and Administrative Law, Thomson Reuters, 2007, 2013-2017