A jury trial for a case in which Sunrise Farms Inc. sued companies hired by the U.S. government to depopulate and disinfect its premises near Harris, Iowa, after a 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza infection has been scheduled for November 30, 2020.
The trial was previously scheduled for January 27, 2020, at the Osceloa County District Court in Sibley, Iowa, reported NWestIowa.com.
The presence of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed at the Sunrise Farms facility on April 19, 2015, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
APHIS contracted Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Sabre Energy Services and KDF Enterprises, while Clean Harbors hired six subcontractors to do the needed jobs to enable the company to eventually repopulate the egg company’s facility. However, Sunrise Farms, a division of Sonstegard Food Group, alleged that the defendant companies “significantly damaged and impaired property,” and those damages “required extensive corrective repairs and labor.”
Federal court documents reveal that Sunrise Farms claims the chlorine dioxide gas and heat treatments used to kill the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza on its premises destroyed barn equipment, electrical wiring, various production equipment and waterlines and diminished the structural integrity of the operation’s barns.
Sunrise also claimed the defendants were negligent and breached their contracts.
Sunrise Farms seeks to be fully compensated for its losses, interest, accrued late charges and the cost of its lawsuit.
Clean Harbors, Sabre and KDF have all denied Sunrise Farms’ allegations and requested the case be dismissed. In addition, Clean Harbors also sued the six companies that it subcontracted to assist with the disinfection.
Sunrise Farms, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the 23rdlargest egg company in the United States. At the conclusion of 2018, the Sunrise Farms had a flock of 4.1 million hens. Parent company Sonstegard Food Group is a third-generation, family owned company with operations in six states. It produces and markets shell eggs, as well as liquid, frozen and powered egg products.