Organic growers Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo (Jacobs Farm) prevailed last month in its 2007 suit against Western Farm Service. Jacobs Farm cultivates 120 acres in the Wilder Ranch State Park, just north of Santa Cruz, California. Its suit successfully argued that the nearby spraying of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and dimethoate contaminated its dill, sage, and rosemary. The crux of the argument was that the chemicals evaporated and were transported onto the Jacobs Farm by wind or fog. The Santa Cruz County jury agreed with Jacobs, finding the spraying constituted negligence on the part of Western Farm Service, a trespass on the Jacobs Farm land, and a nuisance preventing Jacobs Farm from the use and enjoyment of its land.
The lawyer for Jacobs Farm, Austin Comstock, believes the ruling sent the right message to the regulatory agencies and the chemical industry, that it is necessary to re-examine the use of these post-World War II pesticides. Many believe the landmark ruling sends a clear message that pesticides, like these, that evaporate and are displaced onto non-target property need to be strictly regulated to prevent future property damage. What is left to determine is the impact of this ruling for other private citizens suffering from similar pesticide sprayers.
Source: PRN Newswire
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