After a long and protracted legal battle, we are pleased to report that the Pleasant Plain lawsuit settled on March 5, 2010. The case was scheduled to go to trial on March 26th.
The Pleasant Plain Property Owners Association (PPPOA) representing 26 home owners, sued James Kaska and JL Pork, Inc. for building and operating a 1200-head hog confinement (CAFO) close to their homes. All the plaintiffs lived within a 1½-mile radius of the CAFO.
Although the actual settlement terms are confidential, JFAN understands that the plaintiffs in the case consider the settlement to be a very satisfactory outcome , beneficial to both the plaintiffs personally and the community at-large.
The lawsuit was a long and costly process for all parties. JFAN provided the PPPOA and the individual plaintiffs with substantial financial assistance grants to help cover legal expenses.
The Parrish Kruidenier Firm, a well-known Des Moines law firm with a proven track record in litigation, along with Fairfield attorney David Sykes, represented the PPPOA.
The Pleasant Plain lawsuit was filed about four years ago after Mr. Kaska and JL Pork constructed the 1200-head CAFO. The CAFO is located near Pleasant Plain Road and 167th Street, about three miles north of Fairfield.
Prior to construction of the CAFO, several neighbors met with Mr. Kaska, requesting that he not build the CAFO at the proposed location, as it would diminish their quality of life and peaceful enjoyment. JFAN provided educational support to the neighbors during this period. Several attempts to resolve the matter without litigation failed, and the CAFO was constructed. The lawsuit was filed on May 19, 2006.
The lawsuit charged that the massive amounts of animal waste generated by the facility harmed the health, safety, and quality of life of the plaintiffs, the public and the environment. It alleged there was a significant risk of groundwater contamination from the CAFO and the spreading of liquid manure.
The plaintiffs further asserted that the noxious chemicals created by the untreated liquid manure, unhealthy and unpleasant odor and harmful airborne particulates emanating from the facility constituted a nuisance and threatened the quiet enjoyment of their homes and land.
Additionally, the lawsuit contended that the facility reduced the property values of the 14 homes owned by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs requested to be reasonably and justly compensated for the nuisance.
The trial was originally scheduled for March 2009 in Jefferson County, but was postponed several times. Ultimately, the venue was changed from Jefferson County to Washington County.
JFAN is pleased to have been able to support the plaintiffs and to help in effectuating a positive result in the fight against the proliferation of CAFO's, and their harmful side effects, in Jefferson County.
JFAN would like to express its appreciation to all its supporters who have made it possible for the residents of Jefferson County to continue to enjoy fresh and healthy air and clean water.
Background Information on Pleasant Plain vs. Kaska Lawsuit
After two years of pre trial activities, a lawsuit brought against James Kaska and JL Pork, Inc. by the Pleasant Plain Property Owners Association is getting ready to go to court in the late March 2010.
Twenty-five people are suing Mr. Kaska and his company JL Pork for building and operating a hog confinement facility close to their homes. The confinement is located near Pleasant Plain Road and 167th Street, three miles north of Fairfield. All those represented live adjacent to or within a 1/2 mile to 1 ½-mile radius of the CAFO.
The lawsuit is has been rescheduled from March 16, 2009 to the above date. We will provide updates when information becomes available.
Prior to the lawsuit, it is understood that several neighbors met with Mr. Kaska asking him to not build the CAFO near their homes and to explore other possibilities in an attempt to resolve the matter before the facility was constructed. A lawsuit was filed on May 19, 2006 when all attempts at resolution failed.
The lawsuit asserts that the 1200-head facility generates massive amounts of animal waste that harm the health, safety, and quality of life of the plaintiffs, the public, and the environment.
Plaintiffs also charge that the foul, unhealthy odor with its harmful airborne particulates emanating from the facility constitutes a nuisance and threatens the quiet enjoyment of their homes and land.
In addition, the lawsuit contends that the facility has reduced property values of the 14 homes owned by the families named in the Association.
The plaintiffs are requesting full and fair compensation as well as attempting to shut down the facility on a permanent basis.