Judge Holds Off Decision On Hudson Farm Legal Expenses
A federal judge this week heard testimony but offered no decision in an attempt by the successful defendants in a civil suit filed against a Berlin farm family and Perdue over alleged pollution violations to recoup roughly $3 million in legal fees from their opponents.I remarked on this case extensively at the time. Essentially, the Waterkeepers sued Hudson Farms even after it was shown that the pollution in question did not come from the sources the Waterkeepers alleged. The judge warned them at the time they might be held responsible for court costs if they lost the suit, which they did
U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson on Wednesday heard testimony from both sides in the landmark Clean Water Act case involving Berlin’s Hudson Farm and Perdue and the Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental advocacy group that alleged the defendants allowed runoff from the Berlin farm to enter the creeks and streams that feed the Pocomoke River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Last December, the court ruled in favor of the Hudsons and Perdue after a 10-day trial and the plaintiffs are now seeking reimbursement of the roughly $3 million in legal fees and other expenses used to defend the case.
After hearing testimony on the legal fees issue on Wednesday afternoon, Nickerson did not make an immediate ruling and instead put the case in “sub curia.” Sub curia is a Latin term which literally means “under law.” A court will often hold a matter under consideration awaiting some other important step, such as the filing of a document or the writing of an opinion. There is no timetable prescribed for a ruling in the case under sub curia and the judge is likely forming a careful opinion after hearing testimony.Previous posts on the Hudson Farm saga:
In March 2010, the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, along with the Assateague Coastal Trust and the Assateague Coastkeeper, filed suit in U.S. District Court against Perdue and Berlin’s Hudson Farm after sampling in ditches adjacent to the property revealed high levels of harmful fecal coliform and E. coli in concentrations that violated the Clean Water Act.
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