Press Release October 29, 2022






            Boonville, MO (Oct. 29, 2022) -- On October 28, 2022, the Cooper County Circuit Court entered a Judgment in the lawsuit filed against the Cooper County Public Health Center in 2019.

            In August 2019, the Public Health Center adopted Regulation 6, which put into place reasonable safeguards designed to protect the public health of the citizens of Cooper County.  Regulation 6 imposed requirements relating to air quality and water quality concerns at concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.  The specific requirements imposed by Regulation 6 addressed issues that were not directly regulated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, or DNR. 

            In September 2019, several Cooper County residents filed the lawsuit challenging the requirements in Regulation 6.  The plaintiffs also included several claims relating to the Missouri Sunshine Law.

            In 2019 and 2021, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 391 and House Bill 271, which amended the law such that a health center could not impose local requirements affecting agricultural facilities that were more stringent than, inconsistent with, or different from Missouri DNR’s requirements.  A separate legal challenge to Senate 391 and House Bill 271 is presently pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.

            As a result of this legislation, the Court determined that Regulation 6 exceeded the Missouri DNR CAFO requirements and was void.  In August 2022, the court conducted a trial in which the jury determined that several Sunshine Law violations had occurred in 2018 and 2019.

            “In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged 198 instances of Sunshine Law violations, but the vast majority of these allegations were dismissed,” said Chris Pieper, an attorney representing the Health Center.  “The only violations found consisted primarily of insufficient notices of meetings, not properly wording motions, and insufficient meeting minutes,” added Pieper.  “The plaintiffs requested the Court to award more than $105,000 in legal fees in this case,” said Pieper, “But the Court substantially reduced that amount to $94,000.”

“The purpose for adopting Regulation 6 was to protect the citizens of Cooper County,” said Patty Dick, president of the Board of Trustees.  “While we are certainly disappointed in the court’s Judgment, we do respect the rule of law,” added Dick.






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