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J.H. Borland, Sr. v. Sanders Lead Co.

369 So. 2d 523 (Ala. Sup. Ct. 1979)

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J.H. Borland, Sr. v. Sanders Lead Co.

Supreme Court of Alabama

369 So. 2d 523 (Ala. Sup. Ct. 1979)

Facts

J.H. Borland, Sr., and Sarah Borland (plaintiffs) owned 159 acres of land on which they raised cattle and crops and cultivated a pecan orchard. The Sanders Lead Company (Sanders Lead) (defendant) operated a smelter on a nearby property. Sanders Lead used the smelter to melt down used car batteries in order to recover lead. Sanders Lead filtered the smoke from the smelter in compliance with the Alabama Air Pollution Control Act. However, the filtered smoke still carried some lead particulates and sulfoxide gases into the atmosphere, and additionally the filtration system had malfunctioned and burned down on two occasions. The Borlands sued Sanders Lead for trespass, alleging that the smelter’s smoke deposited lead particulates and sulfoxide on their land, rendering the land unsuitable for raising cattle or food. The trial court found in favor of Sanders Lead. It reasoned that Sanders Lead could not be held liable for pollution because it had complied with Alabama’s pollution law. The Borlands appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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