There is a major case taking place in Maryland right now.
Waterkeeper Alliance, a radical environmental group headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is suing Hudson farms and Perdue, the company that contracted to purchase Hudson’s chickens, over a suspicious pile of…something.
Here’s what happened. Kathy Phillips, the self-proclaimed Assateague Coastkeeper, was flying over property in the area in order to find what she considered violations of federal environmental laws. Essentially, Phillips was looking for a lawsuit (under certain federal provisions, if a private citizen brings a lawsuit to enforce federal law, they may get all of their legal fees reimbursed by the government). What she spotted was a pile of what she thought was chicken manure. Tests in the area revealed that the nearby ditches carried high levels of nitrogen and other things. So Phillips teamed up with Waterkeeper Alliance and filed an intent to sue under the Clean Water Act.
The state of Maryland looked into the matter and realized the pile was actually legally purchased fertilizer; it was just being stored improperly. The Hudsons were told to move the pile and a fee was levied against them. There was nothing to indicate that the pile or anything else on the farm had caused the higher levels of nitrogen in the nearby water.
But Waterkeepers Alliance and Phillips decided to go ahead with the suit anyway.
The case is so important though because not only did the sue Hudson Farms, they also sued Perdue. Perdue purchases the birds from Hudson Farms once they are full grown. The lawsuit claims Perdue is just as responsible for what happened on Hudson Farms as the Hudsons are, if the suit is successful.
The problem is, if this suit is successful, it changes who can be sued. Until now, a contractor up the chain could not be sued for what the farmer or someone else did down the line. This suit changes that and makes everyone up the line liable. As you can imagine, that means those larger buyers would now want more control over what is happening on the farms. It also means that when environmentalists bring up bogus lawsuits, they have some deeper pockets to settle with (in addition to not paying a dime of legal fees).
The trial just wrapped up yesterday. As soon as I hear the outcome, I’ll make sure to share it.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more or donate to support the Hudson family, check out Save Farm Families.