Three weeks after a U.S. District Court judge issued a ruling in the landmark civil suit filed against a Berlin farm family and Perdue over alleged pollution violations dating back to 2009, the victorious defendants in the case this week filed separate motions seeking a combined $3 million in attorney fees and other associated costs.
In March 2010, the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, along with the Assateague Coastal Trust and the Assateague Coastkeeper, filed suit in U.S. District Court against Perdue and Berlin’s Hudson Farm, a contract factory farm operation of about 80,000 birds. The suit was filed after sampling in ditches adjacent to the property allegedly revealed high levels of harmful fecal coliform and E. coli in concentrations that exceed state limits in violation of the Clean Water Act.
After three years of legal wrangling, the case finally went to trial in October and concluded after 10 days of testimony during which experts on both sides testified on the merits of the case. In late December, U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson ruled in favor of the defendants Perdue and Alan Hudson, opining the Waterkeeper Alliance did not prove a Clean Water Act violation.