A major truck manufacturing plant in Central Kentucky was accused of poisoning horses at a farm about 4 miles away from the plant. Waste water from the plant was pre-treated on site prior to release to the City's municipal waste water treatment plant. An on-site lagoon was used for disposal of the pre-treatment sludges which contained lead in a chemically fixed form from the painting wastes in the plant.
The plant is located on a rolling plain with several sink holes on the upland areas, and well established dendritic drainage patterns at lower elevations. The entire area is underlain by a shale formation which forms an aquiclude, and the geology has a syncline between the plant site and the farm where the horses died.
The Plaintiff farm owner alleged that the Defendant manufacturer released lead into the ground water, and that the lead contaminated ground water emerged through a spring on the horse boarding farm, killing the horses with chronic lead poisoning over a period of several years. The Plaintiff's expert, a paleontologist from the local University, testified that the geology compelled the movement of the ground water from the plant to the farm spring and that the plant is the only source of lead in the area. The plaintiff claimed the horses had a value of about $20,000,000.
It was shown that shale aquiclude together with the synclinal structure prevented the movement of ground water from the plant site to the farm. It was also shown that an underground gasoline tank on the farm had leaked just above the spring and wood used to construct stalls for the horses, which the horses has ingested, had been treated with PCP's.
A jury without a high school graduate found for the Plaintiff, and before the hearing on damages, the Defendant manufacturer settled with the Plaintiff for $190,000.
The Attorney Client
For the Manufacturer:
Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs (Formerly Wyatt, Grafton & Sloss)
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STOKLEY-CHEEKS AND ASSOCIATES, INC
Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks