Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Egg farm weighs options after $19.7M jury verdict

The Associated Press

        NEWARK — An attorney for the state's largest egg farm said the company is considering its options — including bankruptcy or a settlement — after a $19.7 million jury verdict against it.

        Buckeye Egg Farm attorney Tom Rosenberg said the company could file for bankruptcy, but would try to reach a settlement with the farm's neighbors.

        “We're not doing anything today,” Mr. Rosenberg said Monday. “We are considering any and all options, including resolving this matter with the plaintiffs now.”

        A Licking County Common Pleas jury on Sunday ordered Buckeye Egg and its owner, Anton Pohlmann, to pay the judgment to 21 neighbors who blame the company for noxious odors, fly infestations and water pollution. The company has 7.5 million chickens in barns in northwest Licking County.

        Damages were awarded to each plaintiff individually. The amounts range from $671,210 to more than $1.2 million.

        Mr. Pohlmann has said such a verdict could bankrupt the company.

        Besides bankruptcy, Mr. Rosenberg said the company could appeal the jury's judgment or bargain with plaintiffs to settle for a lower judgment in exchange for dropping appeals.


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