Court allows suit against Biddeford plant to proceed

Posted June 10, 2010, at 2:03 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s highest court has ruled that a lawsuit complaining about offensive smells from a Biddeford trash-to-energy plant can move forward.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday vacated a lower court ruling that threw out a lawsuit filed by former Saco Mayor Mark Johnston against Maine Energy Recovery Co.

Johnston filed a complaint against MERC in 2008 alleging that the plant made his house smell like garbage, gave him headaches and discomfort in his lungs, and reduced the value of his home. A lower court judge dismissed the complaint last year, ruling that the law did not allow for a legal action based on a “private odor nuisance.”

In a unanimous decision, the supreme court disagreed, sending the case back to superior court for further proceedings.

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