Verdicts & Settlements January 16, 2011: Car dealer loses suit against cheese factory

Publication Date 01/16/2011
Source: Missouri Lawyers Media
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A jury awarded nothing to a company that claimed property damage from a nearby manufacturing plant.

DairiConcepts LP produces cheese and dairy products in El Dorado Springs.

Across the street on U.S. Highway 54 is Fugate Motors, a Ford and Chrysler dealership. Fugate Motors claimed property damage to its building and vehicles from emissions from the plant.

“This unfolded over a 10-year period,” said DairiConcepts attorney Bryan O. Wade of Husch Blackwell in Springfield.

Nuisance claims have a 10-year statute of limitations, he said.

Plaintiff Fugate Motors made claims for trespassing, nuisance, general negligence and punitive damages and demanded $1.8 million. DairiConcepts made no offers.

After a four-day trial, the jury ruled in favor of the defendant.

Fugate Motors’ attorney, Joseph P. Sommer, said the dealership has had to clean vehicles on the lot numerous times over the past 10 years because of emis-sions from the plant, diminishing the value of the dealership.

Although the plant was in business before the car dealership, it produced only cottage cheese until 1964. It then built emission stacks for the production of cheese byproducts, Sommer said.

DairiConcepts contended it was legally authorized by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to emit particulate during the manufacturing process and never violated the DNR operating permit.


*Court: Cedar County Circuit Court

*Case Number/Date: 07CD-CV00008/ Nov. 8, 2010

*Judge: James R. Bickel

*Last Pretrial Demand: $1.8 million

*Plaintiff’s Experts: Andrew Armstrong, Arlington, Texas (forensics); Eric Drews, Overland Park, Kan. (engineering); Michael Sinn, St. Louis (forensics)

*Defendant’s Experts: Tracy McCracken, Billings (emission testing); Tim Janota, Maryland Heights

*Caption: Fugate Motors Inc. v. DairiConcepts LP

*Plaintiff’s Attorney: Joseph Sommer, Joseph P. Sommer & Associates, St. Louis

*Defendant’s Attorney: Bryan O. Wade, Husch Blackwell, Springfield

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