Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Judge Pooh Poohs Chicken Poop Suit

In a case closely watched by citizen advocacy and farm groups, a federal judge on Tuesday rejected a farm industry bid to collect $3 million in legal fees from a group that sued Perdue Farms and a family farm in 2010 over Pocomoke River water pollution.

U.S. District Court Judge William M. Nickerson tossed out the Waterkeeper Alliance’s Clean Water Act case last year, concluding in an opinion that the action was flawed and “not pursued or litigated as well as it could have been.”

“It is most unfortunate that so much time and so many resources were expended on this action that accomplished so little,” Nickerson wrote, adding later: “That, however, is not the same as concluding that the underlying claim was ‘frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation,’ or ever clearly became so.”
We've been watching this suit, and the prior suit that initiated it for some time.  After suing the farm and Perdue over what the Waterkeepers alleged to be chicken waste piles on the farm, it turned out the piles were not chicken shit after all, but rather compost from a sewage plant bought to be a fertilizer (likely to replace the chicken shit they were no longer using).  When the error was pointed out, they switched the suit to cover some dust that probably escaped the chicken houses through ventilation fans.  Clearly, they intended to make a target of the farm and Perdue, and the waste was merely a pretext.

The judge warned them at the time that they might face a suit to recover court costs, but they persisted in the suit, and lost.

I suppose I would have preferred the judge allow this suit to go forward as a warning to enviroweenies to make their suits on matters of substance,  not show.

Previous posts on this suit:

Feb 08, 2013, Perdue, Farmer Sue Waterkeepers Over Chicken Shit Suit
Jan 24, 2013, Waterkeepers Cut Losses in Chicken Shit Suit
Jan 10, 2013, Farmer, Perdue Sue Waterkeeper for Cool Three Million
Jan 08, 2013, Chickenshit Lawsuit Unites Eastern Shore ...
Jul 01, 2013, Chickenshit Suit Goes to the Judge - Redux
Dec 21, 2012, Farmer Wins Chicken Shit Law Suit
Oct 25, 2012, Chickenshit Suit Goes to the Judge
Oct 09, 2012, Waterkeepers Roll the Dice on Chicken Suit
Apr 02, 2012, Judge Whacks Waterkeepers, UMD Legal ...Jan 19, 2012, Why Is University of Maryland Suing Farmers?
Nov 21, 2011, UMD Law Dean to O'Malley: STFU!
Nov 18, 2011, Gov. O'Malley Scolds Law Students for Farm ... 

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