Poultry Companies Lose Round In Federal Lawsuit

Friday, September 22nd 2006, 6:22 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A federal judge in Tulsa has severed Oklahoma landowners and businesses from a federal lawsuit against the poultry industry.

U-S Magistrate Sam Joyner's decision Thursday also stays any action that poultry companies can pursue against the third-party defendants until after the lawsuit is litigated.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson hailed the decision. Edmonson filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of the state. It accuses the poultry industry of polluting the Illinois River watershed and Lake Tenkiller.

The poultry companies responded to the lawsuit by filing claims against 160 landowners, businesses and municipalities in Oklahoma.

Edmondson has called the industry's claims "political hostage-taking." A spokeswoman for the industry wasn't immediately available for comment.