LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The makers of the popular Sriracha hot sauce will be put on trial this fall for the apparently offensive odors its factory emits in the city of Irwindale.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu on Friday scheduled a Nov. 3 jury trial of Irwindale’s case against Huy Fong Foods Inc.
Attorney Stephen Onstot, representing the city of Irwindale, said the breach-of-contract allegation will assert that Huy Fong Foods did not comply with certain operating conditions, including that it not emit foul odors. Onstot said the new cause of action will be added within a week and that a jury will be asked to decide both the nuisance and the breach of contract claims.
Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods on Oct. 21 after neighbors complained of asthma, heartburn and nose bleeds they said were caused by the spicy odor coming from the hot sauce plant.
On Nov. 26, Judge Robert H. O’Brien ordered the company to cease the operations that could be causing the odors and to take steps to mitigate them. The injunction did not order the company to stop operating entirely.
O’Brien acknowledged in his ruling that there was a “lack of credible evidence” linking the stated health problems to the odor, but said that the odor appears to be “extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.”
The judge wrote that the odor could be “reasonably inferred to be emanating from the facility” and determined that the city is likely to prevail” in a trial in having the odor declared a public nuisance.
Since the city of Irwindale began legal action against Huy Fong Foods, the company has been courted by several other cities eager for a Sriracha-making factory, including Philadelphia and Denton in northeastern Texas.
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