Earlier this week, Cedar Grove Composting, a composting company, “agreed to pay more than $785,000 to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it was responsible for bad smells.” Additionally, the company agreed to spend $1.45 million to help “reduce the potential for malodorous emissions.” The settlement agreement is currently awaiting final approval from a judge. But what happened? Why was the lawsuit filed in the first place?
Additionally, the company agreed to spend $1.45 million to help “reduce the potential for malodorous emissions.” The settlement agreement is currently awaiting final approval from a judge. But what happened? Why was the lawsuit filed in the first place?
Well, according to the lawsuit, neighbors near the composting company “frequently complained about the smell of the composting operations” for years. When nothing was done about their complaints, they decided to take their case to court. Michigan-based Liddle & Dubin law firm represented the local residents.
In response to the allegations detailed out in the suit, Cedar Grove denied all wrongdoing and agreed to the settlement agreement only to “end the litigation to avoid the cost, expense, inconvenience, uncertainty, distraction, time, and effort.” In a statement regarding the agreement, Karen Dawson, a spokeswoman for the composting company, said:
“We have denied these allegations and prevailed in the only case that’s gone to trial, but we felt this was the best way to bring resolution to this matter and have the ability to refocus our efforts 100 percent back to providing this valuable service for the community. The settlement funds will be distributed to everyone who qualifies and files the proper paperwork.”
She added that the improvements included in the settlement “are significant” and mentioned that “Cedar Grove has invested millions of dollars over the years in odor-control technology, including a synthetic cover to contain portions of the operation linked to some of the smells.” Back in 2010, the company also “installed electronic monitors, dubbed ‘e-noses,’ to track odors from its composting operations.” She added, “We are happy to report that odor complaints are down to record lows. We received just two odor complaints this summer.”
Since the settlement agreement announcement, letters were sent to “people who might be eligible for a portion of the settlement, including those who’ve lived within two miles of the compost operation at 3620 36th Place on Everett’s Smith Island.” It’s unclear at the moment how much each plaintiff will receive from the settlement, though it’ expected that about $330,000 of the funds will go towards covering attorney fees.
This wasn’t the first time the composting company came under fire, though. In fact, in recent years the company was “cited and fined by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for violations.”