Attorneys for the city of Brandon argued in a brief filed in Rankin County Circuit Court that the testimony of an expert witness for Gold Coast Commodities should be struck because of several procedural issues.
Their motion, along with several others, will be heard on August 18 in Brandon.
The brief says the supplemental report wasn't filed on time and another document, a 2018 “manhole inspection report” wasn't produced by the defendants contrary to the rules and procedures governing discovery. This is the process by which the two sides in a legal dispute share all of the information that will be used in the case.
In February, the city says that it removed part of a pipe was downstream of Gold Coast Commodities' Brandon plant, which utilizes a process to convert used cooking oil and soapstock — which is a byproduct which originates from the refining of soybean and other oils — into animal feed and biodiesel using sulfuric acid.
The city, in its original lawsuit, has accused Gold Coast of damaging these pipes with the corrosive wastewater from this process. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality ordered the company to stop dumping its wastewater into Brandon's system.
The city included an inspection report, photos of the removed pipes and a supplemental expert report from Nathan Husman. The city told Gold Coast attorneys that samples of the degraded pipes were maintained in the office.
The city granted a request for an extra 90 days for Gold Coast experts to examine the damaged pipes, but the city says arrangements were never made to view the pipe samples, serve any supplemental expert report or seek an extension by a May 24 deadline.
The city of Brandon's lawsuit, filed in 2018, is the oldest claim against Gold Coast Commodities. Several contractors have filed a lawsuit against the company after they allege they were overcome by fumes at the Pelahatchie disposal lagoon that was later shut down by orders from the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality in November. The commission also hit the company with more than $500,000 in fines for 11 violations of state wastewater regulations.
The separate Permit Board revoked Gold Coast's permit to dispose of its wastewater in Pelahatchie on April 13.
The company filed a challenge to the permit revocation on April 16 in Hinds County Chancery Court that was later moved to Rankin County.
A judge’s order moved Gold Coast’s challenge to Rankin County, where Gold Coast does its business.
The company is now disposing of its wastewater in Memphis, Tennessee after the commission and the Permit Board ordered it to stop using its Pelahatchie lagoon
The city of Jackson filed its own lawsuit against Gold Coast in late June in Hinds County Circuit Court. Andrew Walker, the owner of Rebel High Velocity Sewer, was indicted last year and later pleaded guilty to federal water pollution charges in a deal with federal prosecutors. The conditions of his plea agreement were ordered to be placed under seal.