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Perdue Farms is seeking up to $2.5 million in
attorney fees after its victory in a poultry pollution case that had been
closely watched by environmentalist and agriculture interests for its potential
impact on the industry, a company spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
Perdue Farms hopes to recoup attorney fees
from the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, which sued the company and an
Eastern Shore contract grower, Perdue spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said.
In its filing in U.S. District Court in
Baltimore, Perdue Farms said that the environmental group continued to litigate
what it called a groundless case after learning that an uncovered pile of what
was claimed to be chicken manure turned out to be harmless. The company also
said the court had noted that while defendants are "not normally entitled
to recover their legal fees, such an award would not be unprecedented."
A federal judge ruled in December 2012 that Alan
Hudson, who raises chickens for Perdue, did not pollute a nearby river as the
environmental group claimed. U.S. District Judge William Nickerson ruled the
alliance failed to prove its case.
The alliance argued that Perdue, which owns
the chickens and monitors their growth, should also be held responsible.
The poultry industry has more than 1,600
family farms on the Eastern Shore, and agriculture interests said a ruling
against Perdue and the farm could have been catastrophic to farmers and the
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