By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – A verdict handed down in Henderson County may have a significant impact on Houston County residents.
A lawsuit filed in the 392nd District Court alleged Huynh Poultry Farms, T&N Poultry Farm and Sanderson Farms were responsible for excessive noise/smell nuisances, a decrease in property value and a decrease in property enjoyment.
According to court records, “Plaintiffs claim that they live in the community of Malakoff because they enjoy the ‘peace, quiet and beauty of clean country living’ all of which they enjoyed until the new neighbors came to town. They feel this has since been destroyed since mid-2016. Exhaust fans, machinery, and other noises fill the air now according to the group. One claimed earplugs were needed to enjoy their property.”
The civil trial began in late October and lasted three weeks. After a lengthy deliberation, the jury reached a verdict last Friday, Nov. 8, finding in favor of the plaintiffs and awarding damages in excess of $6 million.
The plaintiffs, according to the Athens Review Newspaper, “… complained the farm emits sickening odors, and harmful gases from decomposition, spoilage, sulfides, ammonia, methane and carbon monoxide to name a few. According to the cause, most of these are unpleasant, but some in larger concentrations are life threatening.”
In addition, the plaintiffs alleged viruses were being spread, along with bacterial fragments, endotoxins and heavy metals such as arsenic.
Furthermore, the initial filing stated, “Plaintiffs have suffered tremendous damage as a result of Defendants’ breaches. These include, but are not limited to, physical damage to Plaintiffs’ property, economic harm to the Plaintiffs’ market value of their property, harm to the Plaintiffs’ health, and psychological harm to the Plaintiffs’ peace of mind in the use and enjoyment of their property.”
Some of these complaints are the very same ones lobbed at Darling Ingredients in Grapeland. It is not known whether any lawsuits have been filed as of yet against the plant in Grapeland.
The defendants in the case are expected to appeal the verdict.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.