Two class actions have been filed against Cedar Grove alleging that its Everett and Maple Valley composting facilities create noxious odors that interfere with neighboring residents' ability to use and enjoy their property. These odors have allegedly created such a stench that even normal use of their property, like birthday or holiday parties and outdoor barbecues and gatherings, has been intolerable. Unlike the lawsuits that were previously filed on behalf of specific groups of residents, the two cases filed Feb. 13 by the law offices of Michael Withey and Macuga, Liddle & Dubin seek class action status on behalf of thousands of residents, and demand that Cedar Grove install the equipment necessary to eliminate the stench.
The class action lawsuits were filed on behalf of all residents within a four-mile radius of either facility. The cases seek compensation for the nuisance allegedly created by the odors and for any negative impact the odors have had on property values. The lawsuit also seeks to change the way Cedar Grove operates both facilities, to eliminate their alleged emission of odors into the surrounding neighborhoods. The class action complaints seek a cessation of the odors, because they claim that Cedar Grove has refused to eliminate the noxious odors, despite the fact that thousands of complaints have been lodged regarding the odors and the state has fined the facilities in excess of $100,000.
"We know from our investigation that these odors are not merely affecting a small group of residents," said Michael Withey, one of the attorneys handling the case. "There are potentially thousands of homeowners who have suffered daily from these odors, and our clients want Cedar Grove to act now to fix the problems at both facilities for everyone who is being affected. The community demands no less."
According to the complaints, Cedar Grove's Everett and Maple Valley facilities are among the largest composting facilities in the region, with each site taking in yard waste and leftover food, which they then grind and stack into mounds of compost, which is in turn bagged and sold. The complaints allege that, in recent years, as the quantities of compost have increased and/or changed, the odor and emissions have become worse.
Susan Thoman, director of public affairs and communications for Cedar Grove, offered the following comments on Feb. 13:
"At this hour, we have not been served the complaints, and first obtained copies of the complaints via a media contact. With that, we have not had time to review the documents yet. We are committed to being a good neighbor and a valued asset in the communities where we operate."
Affected residents who are interested in learning more about the lawsuits are being urged to contact the law firms at 800-698-4054.