Woman Appealing Judge's Decision To Throw Out Dead Cattle Lawsuit
May 13, 2017
A woman who says gas emissions from a company’s Livingston County facility killed her cattle is appealing a judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the company in question.
Peggy Zlatkin owned a farm located on Cherry Blossom Road in Milford, where she kept a herd of Hereford cattle. Zlatkin filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in September alleging that on the evening of November 17th, 2013, the Merit Energy facility on Lone Tree Road in Hartland Township emitted a large quantity of hydrogen sulfide into the air.
The lawsuit alleges that the hydrogen sulfide was then transported by natural winds to her farm, killing two cows immediately and forcing her to euthanize three others. Zlatkin voluntarily dismissed the federal lawsuit in October, and then filed it in Livingston County Circuit Court. Zlatkin’s attorney says the case was thrown out by Judge Michael P. Hatty, as the court granted summary disposition in favor of the defendants. Zlatkin is now appealing Judge Hatty’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Zlatkin is seeking damages totaling $197,500 for the death of her five cows, having to move her herd to a farm in Montcalm County and veterinary expenses.
The Merit Energy facility was also at the center of an investigation into potential groundwater pollution. As the plant was being decommissioned in the fall of 2015, it was discovered that the chemical sulfolane was present in nearby soil and groundwater. The company was required to clean the site up by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Hartland Township’s website states, “The sulfolane impact to groundwater appears localized to the site and there is no evidence that residential groundwater is impacted at this time.” (DK)