Business is not conducted in a vacuum. Decisions a business owner makes will affect many others in the marketplace as well as the local community. However, even the most well-meaning company can find itself being accused of negatively affecting individuals in its surrounding local community, which many times can lead to business litigation. One company in Michigan recently faced this challenge in a civil lawsuit.
The dispute arose when property owners accused the company, Birds Eye Foods, of damaging their property. Birds Eye Foods is a fruit cannery which produces sauces, glazes and fruit fillings. The property owners sued the cannery, alleging that the company's method of disposing of wastewater had spoiled the surrounding groundwater. This caused the property owners' water wells to become contaminated.
The legal complaint claims that the cannery should have been aware of the dangers of disposing of the wastewater onto the nearby fields. The wastewater was laced with chemicals, which property owners claim caused their groundwater to be contaminated. A federal judge eventually dismissed the case after the two parties came to a settlement. An attorney for the company stated that the settlement was aimed at making sure both sides of the dispute obtained a fair deal.
On the other hand, many times parties to a business litigation dispute in Michigan are not able to find common ground in order to settle a dispute. This means the parties will have to battle it out in court. The side with the best legal argument backed up by evidence and testimony will have the best chance of prevailing. However, this will be decided by a judge who will be well-versed in applicable laws and how to apply them in a specific situation.
Source: Miami Herald, Settlement reached in lawsuit over cannery waste, No author, Feb. 14, 2014