People upset about odor lose decision against Michigan Sugar

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BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — Residents complaining about foul odors from a sugar beet processor in Bay City have lost a key decision at the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Michigan Sugar, which turns beets into sugar, is accused of depriving people of enjoying their property because of odors.

But the appeals court said Mikkie Morley and Jonathan Morley, who moved into their home in 2016, haven’t exhausted the complaint process at state agencies. The court also dismissed a separate negligence claim.

“The alleged noxious odors, in this case, amount to a transitory condition and the Morleys have not alleged that the condition has physically damaged their property,” the court said in a 3-0 opinion on Nov. 18.

Laura Sheets said her law office has been contacted by hundreds of residents.

“You want to sit out on your porch or mow your yard or play with your kids, and it smells unbearably horrible. … Those are real harms,” Sheets told the court on Nov. 3.

Michigan Sugar’s attorney, Brion Doyle, said millions of dollars are being spent to control odors under a previous agreement with state regulators.

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