Verdict put off in poultry pollution lawsuit

Federal trial ends, but lawyers to prepare more arguments

October 24, 2012|By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun

Testimony wrapped up Wednesday in the federal court trial of a lawsuit accusing an Eastern Shore poultry farm and Perdue of polluting a Chesapeake Bay tributary, but a ruling isn't likely until later this year.

After 10 days of hearing witnesses and legal arguments, U.S. District Court Judge William M. Nickerson directed lawyers for the Waterkeeper Alliance, Berlin farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson and the Sallisbury-based poultry company to submit post-trial statements by Nov. 14, with responses due a week later.

He tentatively set Nov. 30 to hear closing arguments in the case.

Each party issued public statements saying they appreciated the opportunity to present their evidence and anticipated a favorable ruling.

Alan Hudson said he and his wife, who denied letting any poultry manure get in a nearby drainage ditch, hope to "put this nightmare completely behind us."

A spokeswoman for Perdue, which is fighting allegations it should share liability for any pollution, said it expected to be vindicated.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Assateague Coastal Trust, a Berlin-based member group of the Waterkeeper Alliance, said testimony presented at the trial raised "troubling issues" about the state's oversight of farms to prevent water pollution.

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