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Brief heard on wind lawsuits

Two out of four counts in a lawsuit filed in May of this year against John Deere Renewables, LLC, Deere Company and Michigan Wind 1, LLC have been dropped by Huron County Circuit Court Judge M. Richard Knoblock and another count – one of four against Noble Environmental Power, has also been dropped, following determinations made earlier last week.

A petition seeking the lawsuit was filed by a group of 20 county residents in mid-May who said the Ubly wind turbine project had harmed property values and lessened the quality of life.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs seek $25,000 and an injunctive relief, requiring the companies involved to cease and desist of their activities related to the project. The four counts in the lawsuit include; private nuisance, public nuisance, negligent design of a wind farm and negligent misrepresentation.

According to multiple reports, the plaintiffs alleged the wind companies made false representations at Board of Commissioner meetings and at Planning Commission meetings, along with making false statements that the wind farms would not result in a noise nuisance or cause adverse health effects.

The lawsuit stated, “the defendants were negligent in making these misrepresentations because, as the parties seeking approval to construct a wind turbine farm (in Huron County), they had a duty to use reasonable care to provide Huron County and it’s citizens with both accurate and complete information.”

The petitioners, in their filing, said the defendants should have known that the supplied information to the county would directly impact the county’s residents, including the plaintiffs.

In supporting the motion to dismiss the counts, a court brief pointed out John Deere and Deere Renewables had absolutely no role in the design of the wind farm. It also said John Deere and Deere Renewables cannot be liable for a wind farm they did not design. There are still other counts waiting to be addressed in court that are facing the companies involved. The plaintiffs have inquired about a possible jury trial and according to the County Clerk’s office, a pre-trial hearing will be held in October.