Judge denies friend-of-the-court briefs in Edmondson's poultry lawsuit

By Chris Rizo | May 5, 2008


TULSA, Okla. (Legal Newsline)-A federal judge Monday denied a request by several groups wanting to file friend-of-the-court briefs in a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson against the poultry industry.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell of the Northern District of Oklahoma denied requests by the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the National Turkey Federation to file briefs in support of the large poultry farmers pursued by the Democratic attorney general.

Frizzell said the poultry companies are represented by lawyers who have "thoroughly and extensively briefed the relevant issues" in the case, which was filed in June 2005.

Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said the judge unfortunately only wanted three amicus briefs filed in the case.

"This case is an important one," Lobb told Legal Newsline. "The judge seems to be taking his time (with the case); and, of course, we hope that bodes well, but we have no idea."

The judge also denied requests by the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Pork Producers Association, Texas Association of Dairymen and George R. Stubblefield, Adair County representative for the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, to file briefs in the case.

Edmondson is suing large-scale poultry farmers, claiming that pollution from their farms have polluted the Illinois River watershed and Lake Tenkiller.

He sued alleging the poultry companies are responsible for the runoff of polluted water from tons of poultry waste that has flowed into the waterways as the result of improper storage.

The attorney general has said that pollution generated by poultry producers is an issue of national importance.

He has called for a "national solution" to protect the nation's waterways, especially in Georgia, the Carolinas and the Delmarva Peninsula states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Lobb, of the National Chicken Council, called Edmondson's lawsuit "over the top," arguing that poultry companies deal with waste in a "responsible manner."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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