County widow sues insecticide maker

Posted Oct. 08, 2009, at 9:43 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:40 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An Aroostook County widow has sued a fertilizer company, claiming that it contributed to her husband’s death at the age of 53 in September 2007.

Violet Montgomery of Woodland contends that the insecticides in Ortho Home Defense, manufactured by the Scotts Co. of Marysville, Ohio, caused health problems and aggravated existing conditions, which ultimately caused the death of Edward Montgomery. The widow also claims that the product, which her husband bought and used to eradicate an infestation of insects at their home, also caused her health problems.

Neither the cause of death nor the specific health problems suffered by either Montgomery are outlined in the complaint.

Ortho Home Defense is a line of products that kill many varieties of insects, including ants, spiders, ticks, wasps and termites, according to the company’s Web site, www.orthohomedefense.com.

Montgomery’s complaint does not specify the kind of insects the couple wanted to control.

Scotts, in its answer to the lawsuit, has denied that its product is unsafe and argued that the Montgomerys’ misuse of the insecticide may have contributed to their health problems.

The lawsuit, originally filed in August in Aroostook County Superior Court, was moved to U.S. District Court in Bangor this week at the request of attorneys for the Scotts Co.

A trial date has not been set.

Peter Kelley, the Caribou attorney for Violet Montgomery, declined Thursday to give details about the circumstances surrounding Edward Mongomery’s death other than those outlined in the complaint.

Efforts to reach Mark Kenney, the Portland attorney for Scotts, were unsuccessful Thursday.

According to the complaint, in the early summer of 2006 Edward Montgomery purchased Ortho Home Defense at the Wal-Mart in Presque Isle.

He and his wife “were exposed when they made several applications of the insecticide in and about their house during the summer of 2006, from which they both developed health problems and aggravated pre-existing conditions and-or contributed to the death of Edward Montgomery on Sept. 2, 2007, and caused serious health problems to Violet Montgomery,” it states.

The widow is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

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