FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2012
William F. McMurry (502) 426-3832 or [email protected]
Douglas H. Morris (502) 426-3430 or [email protected]
Lea A. Player (502) 426-3430 or [email protected]
Joe Billy (502) 664-0256
Louisville Residents Sue Whiskey Companies for Property Damage Caused by Whiskey Fungus
LOUISVILLE—On Wednesday, May 30, William F. McMurry and Morris & Player PLLC filed a class action lawsuit for three Louisville residents against three large bourbon and whiskey producers for damage to their property. A fungus called “whiskey fungus” (Baudoinia compniacensis) is staining and damaging the residents’ homes and cars.
The three defendants are Diageo Americas Supply, the Brown-Forman Corporation, and Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. The defendants’ distilleries and warehouses release significant quantities of ethanol into Louisville’s air during the whiskey manufacturing process. It is this ethanol which causes a unique fungus to grow in surrounding neighborhoods, known as “Whiskey Fungus.”
Whiskey fungus is a tenacious, black fungus that stains gutters, downspouts, siding, and cars.
“Because the cellular structure of this particular fungus is black, even pressure washing your property will not completely remove the fungus,” said attorney William F. McMurry. “Taking your car to the car wash or pressure washing your porch and furniture only removes the top of the cell structure, leaving the bottom of the cell forever discoloring property.”
The fungus’s effect on human health is not known. Currently, no studies have been performed, but the fungus is not thought to pose a health concern.
William F. McMurry and the law firm of Morris & Player PLLC filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, Western Division of Kentucky, on behalf of Joe Billy, Nancy Billy, Gregg Murray and other residents living near Defendants’ ethanol-emitting facilities in Louisville and across the nation.
“There’s no question that the presence of whiskey fungus is permanently damaging property, including the market values of many homes in the neighborhoods near these distilleries and warehouses,” said attorney William F. McMurry. “Distilleries have the technology to eliminate this problem and we want to see property owners compensated. Homeowners have suffered enough decline in property values in this economy; they don’t need to suffer a further reduction due to the discharge of ethanol by whiskey manufacturers.”
The attorneys for the residents have created a website to provide information to other residents about whiskey fungus and the lawsuit: http://whiskeyfunguslawsuit.com. A .pdf of the Class Action Complaint is available on the website.
“We are working to determine how far the fungus has spread through Louisville,” said Douglas H. Morris. “The fungus needs ethanol to establish itself, but not much ethanol. If you can smell aging spirits, that’s enough to start the growth. If you suspect your property has whiskey fungus on it, please contact us.”
William F. McMurry and Morris & Player PLLC are hosting a press conference at the home of Joe and Nancy Billy on Wednesday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m. The Billys live at 1410 McCoy Avenue, Louisville, 40215.
Defendant Diageo Americas Supply operates a distillery at 3680 Fitzgerald Avenue and stores aging liquor at a nearby warehouse. Diageo is the world’s largest maker of distilled spirits. Its brands include Bulleit Bourbon, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Jose Cuervo, and Captain Morgan’s.
Defendant Brown-Forman Corporation operates distilleries and warehouses at their corporate headquarters (850 Dixie Highway) and at 2921 Dixie Highway. Brown-Forman’s brands include Early Times, Woodford Reserve, and Old Forrester.
Defendant Heaven Hill Distilleries operates a distillery and warehouses at 1701 West Breckenridge Street. Its brands include Evan Williams, Fighting Cock, and Old Fitzgerald.
The offices of William F. McMurry and Morris & Player, PLLC are located at 1211 Herr Lane, Ste. 205, Louisville, Kentucky 40205. William F. McMurry, Douglas H. Morris, and Lea A. Player have successfully prosecuted a number of class actions.
Whiskey fungus outside a Diageo facility in Shively
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