Mountaire, 106 Sussex residents settle water lawsuits

GEORGETOWN — On Thursday, Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. and Nidel & Nace, PLLC announced the successful conclusion to its environmental litigation against Mountaire on behalf of 106 Sussex County residents.

The settlement, which was reached “in principle” in November, “has now been fully funded and our two lawsuits which have been pending in Superior Court since 2018 have now been dismissed,” according the law firm’s release.

“This settlement allows our clients to hopefully turn the page and continue on with their lives,” said Raeann Warner, attorney for the plaintiffs. “We thank Mountaire for doing the right thing and recognizing that these families, many of whom lived in the shadow of the Mountaire plant, deserved compensation. At the mutual request of the parties the terms of the settlement are confidential.”

Co-counsel Jonathan Nace, said, “We’re happy we were able to reach an agreement that allows our clients to receive deserved compensation. This was only made possible because the community rallied together and offered us the privilege of fighting for them in court. We’re happy our clients are able to move forward and ensure that they and their families are both protected and compensated for the problems with their drinking water.”

Mountaire spokeswoman Catherine M. Bassett said that due to the ongoing gag order and confidentiality agreements, “we are unable to comment on this at this time.”

Mountaire faces a class action suit also filed in June 2018 in Delaware Superior Court on behalf of more than 700 residents. That lawsuit, filed by the Delaware law firm of Baird Mandalas LLC and Brockstedt in association with the Maryland firm of Schochor, Federico and Stanton, P.A., alleges Mountaire’s wrongful discharge of its wastewater and sludge has contaminated area drinking water wells, caused chronic exposure to elevated and unsafe levels of nitrates and other contaminants and diminished property values.
Last December, Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced a signed agreement with Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc. to resolve spray irrigation and land application permit violations.