On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land issued an order holding Nashville-based Silicon Ranch and IEA liable for more than $135 million in damages for sediment erosion and a lack of soil management.
A Georgia jury has awarded Shaun and Amie Harris $135.5 million in damages for their property in Stewart County, Georgia. It is said to have been caused by silt and sediment erosion in a 100 MW energy-scale solar project developed by Silicon Ranch, engineering contractor Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives (IEA) and an IEA subsidiary.
On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land issued an order holding Nashville-based Silicon Ranch and IEA liable for damages.
According to the lawsuit, Silicon Ranch has developed more than 160 solar power plants across the country, many of which were built by the IEA. At Lumpkin Solar, the IEA cleared and bulk graded approximately 1,000 acres of timber, farmland and land near the Harris property that had previously been used for recreational hunting and fishing. The solar developers had not taken adequate measures to control erosion and sediment, according to a press release from the plaintiffs’ attorney, James E. Butler, Jr., of Butler Prather LLP.
The companies “created, practiced and maintained a nuisance … which caused sedimentation to pollute Plaintiffs’ wetlands, streams and lakes. The court further finds that this nuisance has continued for approximately two years without cessation,” Judge Land said in the court order.
In the statement pv-lehti USAa Silicon Ranch spokesperson said, “As the longtime owner of this facility, Silicon Ranch remains committed to the continued success of Stewart County and the surrounding area. While we sincerely apologize for the unintentional damage to our neighbor’s property, Silicon Ranch does not believe that the verdict in this lawsuit is supported by the facts of this case. We plan to appeal.” “
Silicon Ranch hired IEA to design and build the Lumpkin solar plant through its subsidiary IEA Constructors. IEA’s work included the installation of the solar modules and the complete balancing of the EPC construction of the system, including all civil, mechanical and electrical works.
“We trust that our contractor will perform this work in accordance with applicable law and industry best management practices as determined by the appropriate regulatory bodies in the State of Georgia,” Silicon Ranch said.
Lumpkin Solar is a 100 MW solar project located on 850 acres in Stewart County, Georgia. The plant was put into commercial use in December 2021 in cooperation with the electric cooperative Walton Electric Membership Corporation and IEA. Meta was the opposite of the solar project.
H&L Farms LLC, on behalf of Shaun and Amie Harris, filed suit against Silicon Ranch and IEA on the 6th. August 2021 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
The jury returned a verdict of $10.5 million in damages. It found that Silicon Ranch, IEA and IEA’s subsidiary, IEA Constructors, LLC, acted with specific intent to harm. The jury awarded $25 million in punitive damages to Silicon Ranch and $50 million in punitive damages to IEA and its affiliate.
According to court filings, H&L Farms purchased the 1,630-acre property from Kawikee Refuge, LLC on March 16, 2021. The Harris home sits next to a 100 MW solar farm.
Cozen O’Connor represented Silicon Ranch in the litigation, while Drew Eckl & Farnham represented IEA.