Media Release

Dairy Farmers Win Pollution Lawsuit Against the Province of Ontario

Jan 23 2008

An Ontario judge has ordered the provincial government to pay compensation to the Berendsen family for damages arising from asphalt-related contamination of the family's farm near Teviotdale, Ontario.In her 160 page judgement, Madam Justice Seppi of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded that the Ontario government acted negligently in relation to waste asphalt that was buried upon the farm following a provincial highway reconstruction project.  She further found that chemicals from the buried waste asphalt contaminated the farm’s wellwater, and adversely affected the health and production of the Berendsen cattle.  In the judgment, Madam Justice Seppi strongly criticized the Ontario government for its “cavalier and careless attitude… to what was obviously a serious problem.” “My clients are very pleased with the judgment in their favour,” stated Richard Lindgren, a CELA lawyer who has represented the Berendsens since the early 1990s.  “However, it is highly unfortunate that this family was forced to endure 14 years of protracted legal proceedings in order to get to trial and obtain appropriate compensation in this case.” The Court’s judgment comes after a five week civil trial which featured testimony from all members of the Berendsen family, and included expert evidence on various technical, scientific, veterinary, and toxicological issues in dispute between the parties. “This judgment fully vindicates the Berendsens’ position that the Ontario government has mishandled this case since Day One,” said Donald R. Good, P.Ag., co-counsel for the Berendsens. “Of particular importance, the Court determined that Ben Berendsen was a well-experienced and knowledgeable dairy farmer.  Our clients now look forward to getting on with their lives without the constant stress of this litigation hanging over their heads.” - 30 - For more information, please contact: Richard Lindgren, CELA, 613-385-1686, r.lindgren@sympatico.ca Donald R. Good, Donald R. Good & Associates, 1-800-661-8837, farmlaw@on.aibn.com