Executives at the Mountaire Farms poultry processing plant will soon have to answer to the dozens of area residents who claim they suffered severe harm because of the company’s actions. A lawsuit filed by attorneys at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. alleges the company’s wanton, willful, and illegal disposal of toxic waste resulted in groundwater contamination that sickened residents in and around Millsboro, Delaware.
News of tainted water in the neighborhoods surrounding Mountaire Farms came as a surprise to homeowners there. In fact, most of them were not even directly informed. For some, the news came through the unexpected delivery of bottled water and a vague note.
In the time since those neighbors learned that their water might not be safe to drink, they also learned that Mountaire Farms had repeatedly violated their permits for waste disposal by spraying contaminated water on hundreds of local farm fields.
Many Millsboro-area children born in recent years have experienced unexplainable birth defects. Others in the area have also experienced asthma attacks, bacterial infections, stomach problems, and more. And those affected are wondering whether the other health issues they are dealing with could be related to the tainted water. They are also plagued by the fear of what could happen next. Living with the unknown when it comes to your health is, in itself, damaging to one’s peace of mind and overall well-being.
Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of more than 80 of those neighbors against the poultry giant in partnership with Nidel & Nace, PLLC, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. The lawsuit seeks compensation and punitive damages for the foul odors and water pollution they say was caused by Mountaire Farms’ reckless disposal of toxic waste.
The lawsuit focuses largely on the high level of nitrates contained in the groundwater, which is the main source of drinking water for homeowners there. Excessive nitrates in drinking water have been proven to reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Exposure can lead to breathing problems, decreased blood pressure, cramps, and even death – and one resident has died following a severe asthma attack. The highest risk is to pregnant women and nursing mothers, whose babies are vulnerable to methemoglobinemia, which can be fatal, along with potential birth defects that may include cleft palates, brain damage, and limb deficiencies.
There is still much that is unknown regarding the contamination. The presence of fecal coliform bacteria, also found in the water, suggests the presence of other pathogens, and so ongoing medical monitoring of all nearby residents is essential. The lawsuit will address all the health issues, along with the unpleasant odors and other nuisances caused by the plant, as well as the damage to local property values.
If you believe you have been affected by Mountaire Farms’ contamination, or if you wish to discuss an unrelated matter, contact a Delaware environmental toxic tort lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. Contact us online or call 302-656-5445 to arrange a free consultation. We represent clients in upstate and downstate Delaware from our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware.