A federal jury has awarded $17,500 to a woman who sued IBP Inc., now Tyson Fresh Meats, because of hydrogen sulfide gas emissions at a Dakota City beef packing plant in the 1990s.
OMAHA, Neb. A federal jury has awarded $17,500 to a woman who sued IBP Inc., now Tyson Fresh Meats, because of hydrogen sulfide gas emissions at a Dakota City beef packing plant in the 1990s.
Twelve similar lawsuits are pending against the Springdale, Ark.-based company, a unit of Tyson Foods Inc. and a major producer of beef and processor of pork.
Carol Marmo of South Sioux City had asked for $1.2 million in damages, alleging that relatives were hampered in visiting her because of the smell of hydrogen sulfide. She also said she suffered from sinus and other health problems.
Marmo's home was located about two miles from the beef packing plant.
One of her attorneys, Scott Jochim, said Thursday's decision in U.S. District Court in Omaha was considered a moral victory.
"This is just at the tip of the iceberg," Jochim said Friday. A second case is scheduled to begin April 5.
An attorney for the company, Steve Davidson, referred questions to Tyson officials in Springdale. Company spokesman Gary Mickelson said he could not immediately comment.
Jochim said problems began at the Dakota City plant when IBP, which Tyson purchased in 2001, installed a tannery in 1989 and hydrogen sulfide levels rose. Residents complained, and for several years the company used uncovered waste lagoons, contributing to the problem, he said.
Federal environmental officials became involved and all the lagoons were covered by 2000, Jochim said.
Tyson Foods shares fell 6 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $17.06 in late morning trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has been trading at a 52-week range of $12.50 to $21.28.
Source: Associated Press