Judge denies legal fee recovery for defendants in poultry pollution case

A federal judge has ruled that Perdue Farms and an Eastern Shore contract grower will not be able to recoup $3 million in legal fees after successfully defending a poultry pollution suit.

U.S. District Court Judge William M. Nickerson rejected the bid Tuesday. Last year, Nickerson tossed out the Waterkeeper Alliance's Clean Water Act case, criticizing the environmental group for not conducting adequate sampling to identify the source of pollution found near Alan Hudson's Berlin farm.

Nickerson wrote that Perdue and the Hudsons could not show that the claim was "frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation." He wrote that the only proven source of discharge was from cow manure from the Hudson's beef cattle operation.

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