Md. Chicken Farmer, Perdue Win Pollution Lawsuit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Chicken Farmer, Perdue Win Pollution Lawsuit

Posted: Updated:
The Hudson farm in Berlin. (Photo: WBOC) The Hudson farm in Berlin. (Photo: WBOC)

BALTIMORE- A federal judge in Baltimore on Thursday ruled in favor of a Worcester County chicken farmer in a pollution lawsuit that had broad implications for Maryland's poultry industry.

In a 50-page written decision issued three weeks following closing arguments, U.S. District Court Judge William M. Nickerson declared that the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance failed to proved its case against Salisbury-based Perdue Farms, Inc., and contract chicken growers Alan and Kristin Hudson of Berlin.

In his decision, Nickerson ruled that the Waterkeeper Alliance failed to meet its burden of establishing that the Hudson Farm and Perdue had repeatedly discharged and continued to discharge pollutants into a drainage ditch that ultimately flows to the Pocomoke River, which is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

Lawyers for Perdue and the Hudson Farm argued the farm operated similarly to others and there is no evidence of pollution from the farm's poultry operations. They had described the lawsuit as vindictive and without merit.

Following Nickerson's ruling, Perdue spokesperson Julie DeYoung said in a statement that the Waterkeepers Alliance had put an "innocent farm family through hell and tried to drive a wedge between farmers and responsibile environmentalists."

"As Judge Nickerson pointed out in his summary judgment letter, they went looking for someone to sue, and when they found a large pile on the Hudson Farm that they thought was chicken manure, they thought they had  their ‘bad apple'," DeYoung further stated. "The pile turned out to be legal biosolids from nearby Ocean City. But the Waterkeepers persisted with their lawsuit anyway, changing their arguments throughout the case."

In a statement, Marc Yaggi, executive director for the Waterkeeper Alliance said, "We are disappointed and disagree with Judge Nickerson's decision. We have demonstrated a strong case in which the facts and the law support our allegations that Perdue and the Hudson chicken CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) continually polluted a river that ultimately flows into the Chesapeake Bay. We will review the decision and consider an appeal in this matter. Regardless of this decision, the reality is that the Chesapeake Bay and waterways around the country are dying off from pollution and runoff from large industrial factory farms. This case highlighted serious flaws in the state's implementation of the Clean Water Act."

DeYoung said that Perdue and the Hudsons were "thrilled" with Thursday's ruling, which she called a "resounding victory for Perdue and farm families everywhere."

"We congratulate the Hudsons on their long-overdue exoneration," DeYoung said. "We are also pleased that the judge upheld existing law that safeguards the contractor relationship and confirms the independence of thousands of family farms who choose to raise poultry and livestock. This is a good day for Maryland and for agriculture."

The judge's ruling marks the end of a lawsuit filed in March 2010, which went to trial in October. There is no word yet on whether legal fees will be awarded to the defendants. That is expected to be decided in a separate ruling.

Editor's note: The Associated Press contributed to this article.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Crews Working to Restore Power Following Stevensville Tornado

    Crews Working to Restore Power Following Stevensville Tornado

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 4:43 AM EDT2017-07-25 08:43:20 GMT
    Tuesday, July 25 2017 4:43 AM EDT2017-07-25 08:43:20 GMT
    Delmarva Power crews worked overnight to restore power following Monday morning's EF2 tornado that tore through part of Queen Anne's County.More
    Delmarva Power crews worked overnight to restore power following Monday morning's EF2 tornado that tore through part of Queen Anne's County.More
  • Local Volunteer Organization Making a Change

    Local Volunteer Organization Making a Change

    07/24/2017 20:04:00 -04:002017-07-25 00:04:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 8:34 PM EDT2017-07-25 00:34:33 GMT
    Pile of clothes being assorted before deliveryPile of clothes being assorted before delivery
    "Clothing Our Kids," a local volunteer run organization that had its start in a home, has grown, and is making a significant impact on Sussex County. The charity collects and donates clothing to 33 elementary schools for children K-5.More
    "Clothing Our Kids," a local volunteer run organization that had its start in a home, has grown, and is making a significant impact on Sussex County. The charity collects and donates clothing to 33 elementary schools for children K-5.More
  • U.S. Ag Secretary Visits Delaware State Fair

    U.S. Ag Secretary Visits Delaware State Fair

    Monday, July 24 2017 8:27 PM EDT2017-07-25 00:27:20 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 8:27 PM EDT2017-07-25 00:27:20 GMT
    HARRINGTON, Del. -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the Delaware State Fair on Monday, visiting a number of young growers and farmers from the region.Perdue, a former governor of Georgia with no relation to the chicken company prevalent oMore
    HARRINGTON, Del. -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the Delaware State Fair on Monday, visiting a number of young growers and farmers from the region.Perdue, a former governor of Georgia with no relation to the chicken company prevalent oMore
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Salisbury Man Sentenced to 25 Years After Third Felony Drug Conviction

    Salisbury Man Sentenced to 25 Years After Third Felony Drug Conviction

    Thursday, July 23 2015 12:15 PM EDT2015-07-23 16:15:04 GMT
    Thursday, July 23 2015 12:48 PM EDT2015-07-23 16:48:44 GMT
    A Salisbury man convicted last month of cocaine possession and “maintaining a common nuisance” has been sentenced to 25 years without parole, the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office announced Thursday.More
    A Salisbury man convicted last month of cocaine possession and “maintaining a common nuisance” has been sentenced to 25 years without parole, the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office announced Thursday.More
  • Updated: Queen Anne's County Tornado Confirmed

    Damage, Power Outages Reported After Maryland Severe Weather

    07/24/2017 07:59:00 -04:002017-07-24 11:59:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 3:29 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:29:58 GMT
    A large tree fell on this house in Stevensville, Md. during an overnight severe storm that passed through the area. (Photo:  Frank Tedesco/ Atlantic City Electric)A large tree fell on this house in Stevensville, Md. during an overnight severe storm that passed through the area. (Photo: Frank Tedesco/ Atlantic City Electric)
    A National Weather Service team has confirmed an EF2 tornado touched down in Queen Anne's County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The tornado downed trees, damaged homes, and knocked out power out for thousands.More
    A National Weather Service team has confirmed an EF2 tornado touched down in Queen Anne's County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The overnight weather event downed trees, damaged homes, and knocked out power out for thousands.More
  • Police Searching for Wanted Man in Laurel

    Police Searching for Wanted Man in Laurel

    Monday, July 24 2017 3:32 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:32:32 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 3:32 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:32:32 GMT
    Michael K. WashingtonMichael K. Washington
    Delaware State Police are asking for the public's help in locating a local man for assault and other charges.More
    Delaware State Police are asking for the public's help in locating a local man for assault and other charges.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Tornado Destroys Homes in Stevensville

    Tornado Destroys Homes in Stevensville

    Several homes in the Bay City area of Stevensville were left extremely damaged after a tornado.

    More

    Several homes in the Bay City area of Stevensville were left extremely damaged after a tornado.

    More
  • Damage, Power Outages Reported in Queen Anne's Co. After Severe Weather

    Damage, Power Outages Reported in Queen Anne's Co. After Severe Weather

    A National Weather Service team is headed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to determine whether a tornado touched down there.

    The weather service says the team is headed to Queen Anne's County on Monday to assess damage from the early morning storm that downed trees, collapsed buildings and knocked out power to thousands overnight in the Stevensville area of Kent Island. County officials say one person was injured but those injuries were not life-threatening.

    More

    A National Weather Service team is headed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to determine whether a tornado touched down there.

    The weather service says the team is headed to Queen Anne's County on Monday to assess damage from the early morning storm that downed trees, collapsed buildings and knocked out power to thousands overnight in the Stevensville area of Kent Island. County officials say one person was injured but those injuries were not life-threatening.

    More
  • Three More Suspects Arrested in Bank of Delmarva Holdup

    Three More Suspects Arrested in Bank of Delmarva Holdup

    Detectives with the Salisbury Police Department have arrested three more suspects in connection with the Dec. 9 armed robbery of the Bank of Delmarva branch on Eastern Shore Drive. 

    More

    Detectives with the Salisbury Police Department have arrested three more suspects in connection with the Dec. 9 armed robbery of the Bank of Delmarva branch on Eastern Shore Drive. 

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices