Class Action Lawsuit Against Mountaire Farms to be Filed Wednesd - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Class Action Lawsuit Against Mountaire Farms to be Filed Wednesday

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 4:29 PM Updated:

MILLSBORO, Del.- Nearly 700 people from the Millsboro area are part of a class action lawsuit to be filed against Mountaire Farms on Wednesday.

Chase Brockstedt, a partner at Delaware law firm Baird, Mandalas and Brockstedt, says his firm and a team of experts have been investigating Mountaire for several months since the company was cited for wastewater violations last fall.

"We have been working and reviewing tens of thousands of pages that we recovered from the EPA, DNREC and other sources," he tells WBOC. "We have to prove that Mountaire is liable, that their discharge of their wastewater--that's in violation of their permit, regulations and industry standards--that that has been negligent and reckless and has caused injury and harm."

The class action suit includes 15 expert opinions, including those from an environmental health professional and a hydrologist. Brockstedt's firm states that after reviewing the information currently available, the experts predict the suit's remediation could exceed $150 million. 

When reached on Tuesday, a spokesman for Mountaire Farms told WBOC "As of this afternoon, we have not been served with this lawsuit. Once we have a chance to review this filing in its entirety, we will comment at the appropriate time.”

According to the firm, wastewater expert Kenneth Norcross concludes "Mountaire's wastewater treatment plant has violated its permits routinely and often grossly for most of the 17 years that Mountaire has owned the facility."

Mountaire has long stated the problems last fall occurred for a relatively short period of time and did not cause contaminated private wells.

The class action lawsuit demands Mountaire overhaul its wastewater treatment plant, provide clean and safe drinking water to those affected, remediate the groundwater, compensate those who say they lost property values due to the wastewater upset, and address health concerns.

Mountaire has offered area residents free deep well installation for months, and in a consent decree with DNREC, agreed to a process for treating high nitrate ground water that will remove double the excess amount. Brockstedt's firm filed a motion to intervene regarding that consent decree last week. 

The class action lawsuit lists multiple counts against Mountaire Farms including negligence, recklessness, trespassing and unjust enrichment.

Brockstedt says the suit will be filed in Superior Court. 

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