Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Waterkeepers Roll the Dice on Chicken Suit

It seems to the day that a lot of legal issues are being aired around the Bay today:

Poultry pollution suit goes to trial: Shore farmers, Perdue square off against Waterkeeper Alliance

A very complicated story, which we've heard some of before.  The Waterkeepers Alliance, aided by the University of Maryland's Laws Clinic, is suing a farmer, and Perdue chickens over possible pollution violations.  The interesting thing about the suit is that the Waterkeeper's Alliance faces the possibility of paying the farm and even Perdue Chicken's legal fees if they fail to prove their case:
A preliminary ruling in the case denied Perdue's bid to be excused, making it at least potentially liable if the court rules the farm polluted the water.

Much is at stake as well for the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance and its lawyers, the environmental law clinic of the University of Maryland law school.

Judge William M. Nickerson, who is to preside at the trial, expressed some skepticism earlier this year about the environmental group's evidence that the farm was the source of high levels of fecal coliform bacteria found three years ago in a drainage ditch that runs by the Hudsons' chicken houses.

The judge went even further, though, noting he could order the environmental group to pay the Hudsons' and even Perdue's legal expenses if he found no violation. Those costs could reach into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
So, I guess I want to know what happens if the Waterkeepers Alliance loses in court and are assessed the exorbitant legal fees they have forced onto  Hudson's farm and Perdue.  Will they dun their members for the fees?

Will the University of Maryland's Law Clinic be forced to contribute as well?

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