Lawyers for poultry producer Perdue and an Eastern Shore farmer are asking a federal judge to award them more than $3 million in attorneys' fees and expenses from the Waterkeeper Alliance, the New York-based environmental group that failed to prove they were polluting a Chesapeake Bay tributary.I think it's pretty clear from the prior news reports (see below) that the Waterkeepers were surprised when it came out that the biosolids were not from the chicken farming operation, but had already decided to make an example of the Hudson Farm and Perdue, and decided that they could make something stick and proceeded with the suit. Having them pay attorney fees and court costs seems only fair to me.
Pointing to written comments by the deciding judge that were critical of the plaintiffs' motives and the strength of their case, the successful defendants contend they're justified in seeking reimbursement for a case they argued should never have gotten that far...
In a filing this week supporting his claim of $500,000 in attorney's fees, Ritchie wrote that the lawsuit was "needless and groundless" and for Hudson "an excruciating ordeal that has left its traumatic mark on his family despite the court's ruling in his favor."
"When [the Waterkeeper group] learned that what it had taken for an uncovered pile of chicken manure was actually a pile of harmless biosolids, it nevertheless proceeded with a lawsuit," Perdue's lawyers wrote in a separate filing.
Previous posts on the Waterkeeper/Hudson Farm suit:
Waterkeepers Cut Losses in Chicken Shit Suit
Farmer Wins Chicken Shit Law Suit
Waterkeepers Roll the Dice on Chicken Suit
Judge Whacks Waterkeepers, UMD Legal Clinic