Judge Rules in Favor of Poultry Farm in Eastern Shore Waterkeeper Alliance Water Pollution Case

A December 21 Capital Gazette article reports on favorable ruling for Perdue Farms and Eastern Shore family farm by a federal judge in a water pollution case brought by a consortium of environmental groups, including Assateauge Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips and the Assateague Coastal Trust and the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance.  The plaintiffs were represented by members of the University of Maryland School of Law Environmental Law Clinic, which drew criticism from Governor Martin O’Malley and some legislators.

U.S. District Judge William Nickerson found Thursday environmentalists did not prove that Hudson Farm in Berlin — where chickens are grown for Perdue — polluted ditches that drain to a river that feeds the Chesapeake Bay.  …

If the Waterkeepers had succeeded in making Perdue liable, it could have spurred major changes in the poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula.  …

The Waterkeeper Alliance was represented by a professor and student attorneys from the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law, which rankled some politicians — including Gov. Martin O’Malley — who questioned the partially taxpayer-funded school’s participation in a lawsuit against Maryland businesses.

Jane Barrett, the professor who argued the case, issued a statement that read: “Our client is obviously disappointed in Judge Nickerson’s ruling and will be carefully reviewing the opinion and supporting documents to determine if there are any appealable issues.”

The judge had harsh words for the waterkeepers in general and Assateague Coastkeeper Phillips specifically.

A December 21 Center Maryland article commented on the disappointment of the involvement of the University of Maryland School of Law:

Many Marylanders remain disappointed that the University of Maryland Law School used taxpayer dollars to help provide support to this wealthy out-of-state organization in its lawsuit against the Hudsons, and we are hopeful that yesterday’s court decision will discourage the Law School from making a similar misjudgment in the future.

December 20 Baltimore Sun Blog Article

December 21 Star-Democrat Article

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