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Concerned Area Residents for the Environment v. Southview Farm

34 F.3d 114 (1994)

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Concerned Area Residents for the Environment v. Southview Farm

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

34 F.3d 114 (1994)

Facts

Southview Farms (Southview) (defendant) was a dairy farm in Castile, New York. Southview was one of the largest dairy farms in New York. Southview did not use the traditional method of a manure spreader to disperse manure but instead performed manure operations using storage lagoons and liquid cow manure. There were five storage lagoons. One four-acre manure-storage lagoon had a capacity of approximately six to eight million gallons of liquid cow manure. Southview distributed the liquid manure with spreaders on its fields. Concerned Area Residents for the Environment (CARE) were a group of landowners who lived near the Southview Farm. On July 13, 1989, members of CARE witnessed liquid manure collect in a swale, flow to a ditch, and ultimately flow into the Genesee River. The members tracked the liquid manure spreading to a field where, the day before, July 12, 1989, they observed Southview vehicles spreading a heavy application of manure onto a field that led to the same swale. The members observed the spreading occur again on August 22, 1989. On September 26, 1990, after manure had been applied to the field, members observed manure flowing off the end of the field and into a drainage pipe. This happened again on April 15, 1991, when heavy manure was applied to the field and members observed brown water running off the field after a rain. CARE brought suit in district court and alleged that Southview’s manure operations had resulted in Clean Water Act (CWA) violations. After a trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of CARE for the five CWA violations. Southview moved for a judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), which was granted by the district court. CARE appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Oakes, J.)

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