Clewiston, Fla. – U.S. Sugar issued the following statement in response to trial lawyers’ admission last night that their lawsuit against Florida sugarcane farmers was premised on grossly inaccurate modeling data:
“From the beginning, the trial lawyers refused to acknowledge readily available monitoring data collected by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” said Judy Sanchez, spokesperson for U.S. Sugar. “Instead, they hired a consultant to create a model to generate hypothetical projections to support the claims in their second amended complaint.
“Late last night, the trial attorneys admitted those hypothetical projections were inaccurate, greatly exaggerated and the calculations were egregiously overstated—as a result, the hypothetical projections used in the second amended complaint were sixty (60) times higher than their consultant intended. Their trial lawyers admitted to the court that the day after sugarcane farmers filed their motion to dismiss–which pointed out that trial lawyers’ allegations absurdly equated the air quality in the Glades communities to Mount St. Helens’ eruption– that trial lawyers’ consultant decided to revisit the unrealistic projections. Projections contradicted by actual data.
“Despite knowledge of the inaccuracies, the trial lawyers’ admittedly inflated claims went uncorrected for two weeks and were subsequently repeated in media reports that were broadcast to our local community. We look forward to the outlets immediately issuing a retraction and correcting their inaccurate stories.
“As farmers and members of the community, we rely on science-based approaches and data to guide our harvesting practices and operations. The admission is further proof that this lawsuit is simply a series of baseless allegations supported by a media campaign intended to mislead folks not familiar with farming in the Glades.
“Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection’s air quality data shows that the air in the Glades community is safe, clean, and healthy. It is unfortunate the trial lawyers continue to ignore readily available data because it is unfavorable to their efforts to attack the sugarcane farming community. No matter the number of revisions to their flawed modeling, we will continue to defend our safe and responsible farming and harvesting practices as well as the communities where we live and raise our families.”