C&R Vanderham Dairy received the necessary county permits to construct a large facility for 1,456 milk cows and 1,408 “support stock” on its 60-acre farm.

However, neighbors objected, arguing the facility would prove an objectionable aroma in the vicinity, and disposal of manure could become a problem.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

They formed the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), an unincorporated association, to bring this lawsuit to have the facility closed. They alleged the dairy would violate the federal Clean Air Act as well as state laws.

The dairy owners, in response, said they had complied with all applicable laws and obtained the necessary permits or exemptions before starting construction. Vanderham argued the neighbors failed to first exhaust administrative remedies before bringing this lawsuit to close or restrict the dairy farm.

In addition, Vanderham noted it obtained exemption letters from the appropriate regulators, and AIR was attacking the wrong party because it was the county officials who determined the dairy needed no additional permits.

If you were the judge would you allow the neighbors to proceed with their lawsuit against the dairy?

The judge said no!

The evidence shows the dairy complied with applicable state and federal statutes, the judge began. If the neighbors have complaints, they should first exhaust their legal administrative remedies against the regulatory agencies before bringing a lawsuit, he continued.

Therefore, the neighbors must first use administrative procedures to contest issuance of the permits before a lawsuit can be brought, the judge ruled.

Based on the U.S. District Court decision in Association of Irritated Residents (AIR) v. C&R Vanderham Dairy, 435 Fed.Supp.2d 1078.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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