Wilbros Suit Sent Back to Stephens Co. Court

The civil suit against the Wilbros facility will head back to Superior Court in Stephens County after it was remanded back by a U.S. District Court judge.

That’s according to Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck, who made that announcement at Tuesday’s Stephens County Commission meeting.

Attorneys for Wilbros and the other defendants in the suit, Joseph H. Wilbanks, Jr., Environmental Resource Concepts, LLC, and Wilcorp, Inc. had filed a request in August to have the case heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Gainesville.

In their request to move the case, defendants stated that the suit alleges violations of the federal Clean Water Act, making the case a federal court issue.

However, the plaintiffs in the case, who are Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, Stephens County School System, and Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County, LLC, argued that the suit is not seeking to remedy violations of the Clean Water Act, but instead was brought exclusively in reference to state law claims for nuisance, trespass, and negligence, among others.

Stephens County and the other groups filed suit in July against Wilbros and associated defendants over the odor coming from the Rose Lane facility.

The suit alleges that the odor from the Wilbros’ facility on Rose Lane in Stephens County is so strong that it interferes with the commercial, residential, economic, and aesthetic interests of the community, as well as causing health issues.

Wilbros and the other defendants have asked the court to dismiss all of the suit’s claims and denies all of the allegations asserted by the plaintiffs in the suit.