Adams Says Initial Ruling Still Pending in Federal Wilbros Suit

Local attorney Alton Adams says he continues to wait on a judge’s order in his clients’ suit in federal court against the Wilbros facility.

In August, about 100 plaintiffs filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Gainesville alleging that the Wilbros facility on Rose Lane is violating the federal Air Quality and Emissions Limitations Act by being a major source of one or more hazardous air pollutants listed in the act. 

The suit also alleged that the odors from Wilbros are a nuisance under state law and that the odors constitute a trespass on their property that has caused damage.

Wilbros has denied claims made in the suit and also argued that the federal court lacks jurisdiction on the subject matter and that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy conditions necessary to filing a claim under the Clean Air Act.

Adams said that attorneys for both sides met with U.S. District Judge Richard Story in October and are now awaiting a ruling on what will happen next.

“I expect he will give the green light for the lawsuit to proceed, or for whatever reason, the lawsuit will be dismissed (by the judge’s ruling),” said Adams.

Adams, on behalf of his clients, had also filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to shut Wilbros down pending a trial.

He said that in an effort to speed up legal proceedings, he and his clients have dropped that preliminary injunction request.

Adams said a preliminary injunction hearing would be lengthy and would then be followed later on by a trial.

“I was trying to clear all the brush I could out of the way and say ‘Look, we are not worried about a preliminary injunction.  We just want to proceed with the lawsuit.’,” said Adams.

Adams said he will not know what the next steps are in the case until after the order is issued by Judge Story.

There is no word on when that order might come, but Adams said he expects it soon.