Sibley, Iowa — Some say the wheels of justice turn slowly. That would be apparent in the federal case regarding the noxious odors allegedly emitted from a plant in the town of Sibley.
The problem dates back about three years, with Sibley City officials accusing Iowa Drying and Processing, or IDP, along with its parent company ChemSol, of emitting noxious orders from their processing plant, which is located in the center of Sibley.
In April of 2016, the Sibley City Council held a public hearing into the matter and gave IDP a list of options for mitigating what the City called, “the nuisance odor.”
Each side then sued the other in mid-2016, with both suits being dropped in June 2017.
About 11 months ago, IDP and ChemSol filed suit in federal court against the City of Sibley, for what the lawsuit calls the City’s “arbitrary, capricious, and irrational method of enforcing the odor ordinance.” IDP contends that Sibley’s Nuisance Odor ordinance allows arbitrary standards as to what constitutes a noxious odor.
The company also accuses the City of Sibley with Violation of Due Process under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The suit alleges that, as a direct result of actions taken by the City of Sibley, IDP has incurred, and continues to incur, damages in excess of $3.5-million. In addition, the lawsuit says the City’s interference with IDP’s operations and effort to sell the facility caused the company to suffer, and continue to suffer damages in excess of $2-million.
IDP’s complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that Sibley’s City Code on noxious odors is unconstitutionally void for vagueness, an order that Sibley’s enforcement methods violate IDP’s due process rights, as well as monetary damages for IDP’s attorneys’ fees, costs, and disbursements in the action, as well as such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and reasonable.
IDP has demanded a jury trial in the case.
In the eleven months since the suit was filed, court records indicate much research has been done by both sides, and some dates have been set in the case. Depositions are currently underway. A date by which discovery was to have been completed had been set for this coming Monday, but a recent request for more time was granted by the judge, who pushed it back a month to February 14th, 2019. Also pushed back a month was the deadline for completion of dispositive motions, which is now set for March 14th. Both sides told Judge Mark Roberts in court documents that they could still be ready for the “Trial Ready” date of July 15th, even with the new deadlines. The final pretrial conference is set for August 13th, and the trial date, which the judge says should be considered firm, is August 26th, 2019.