NY dairy farm successful against appeal
September 8, 2008 by Nixon Peabody
September 8, 2008, Rochester, NY –
Willet Dairy successfully defended an appeal brought before the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals involving the Northern District of New York’s
dismissal of two citizen suit lawsuits.
September 8, 2008, Rochester, NY – Willet Dairy successfully defended an appeal brought before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals involving the Northern District of New York’s dismissal of two citizen suit lawsuits.
In 2002, Willet Dairy, a locally owned and operated dairy farm based in East Genoa, NY, was accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), among other federal and state statutory claims and common law claims. After nearly five years of extensive discovery and litigation, the Northern District of New York granted Willet Dairy summary judgment in July 2007. The plaintiffs, neighbors of the dairy operation, appealed the District Court’s decision and, in late August of 2008, the Circuit Court upheld the Northern District of New York’s decision finding that, after careful consideration, all claims against Willet Dairy were “without merit.”
“This decision reaffirms that citizen suits are to supplement a regulatory agency’s enforcement powers, not supplant it,” said David Cook, litigation partner in Nixon Peabody’s Rochester office and attorney for Willet Dairy. “In affirming the District Court’s decision, the Second Circuit has given operators of animal agriculture facilities nationwide peace of mind that they are protected from potentially expensive and disruptive claims by private citizens so long as the farm operation is otherwise in compliance with its concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permit and plan.”
“As a company, we aim to be the best neighbor we can and we take our environmental responsibilities seriously,” added Dennis Eldred, president and owner, Willet Dairy LLC. “We are working closely with the local and state governments and appropriate environmental groups to ensure our operations are compliant with the latest regulations and this decision confirms that.”