IDP in Sibley appeals federal judge's order

Iowa Drying and Processing in Sibley has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that favored the city. IDP had claimed Sibley’s odor ordinance was vague and unconstitutional in a lawsuit.

SIBLEY—A company blamed for causing foul, overpowering odor issues in Sibley has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that did not go in its favor.

Iowa Drying and Processing in Sibley and ChemSol, based in Minnetonka, MN, filed a lawsuit against the Osceola County seat community on Feb. 16, 2018, in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. The litigation was dismissed on June 4.

The businesses had claimed Sibley’s odor ordinance is vague and unconstitutional and the city has arbitrarily enforced the law against the companies — resulting in several citations for thousands of dollars — and hindered their attempts to sell the IDP facility.

U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand ruled in the favor of Sibley, granting the city’s March 14 request for summary judgment. IDP and ChemSol had filed a resistance on April 4 to that motion.

Summary judgment is a procedural device used to promptly dispose of a court case without a trial. Basically, it is one party’s effort to put an end to a lawsuit.

IDP and ChemSol had until Friday, July 5, to file a notice of appeal of Strand’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

However, the companies’ notice of appeal was filed on Monday, July 8, past the deadline. There also were no grounds given for why they have appealed Strand’s ruling.

The businesses filed a motion on Tuesday, July 9, for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal as well as a memorandum in support of their motion.

IDP and ChemSol filed their notice of appeal on Monday, July 8, in the event the federal court system was shut down the previous Friday, which happened to be the day after the Fourth of July holiday.

The companies on Tuesday morning, July 9, verified that the federal court system in Iowa was open on that Friday, making the notice filed Monday, July 8, untimely, according to court documents.

According to the companies’ memorandum in support of their motion, Scott Carlson of Minneapolis, an attorney for IDP and ChemSol, had the wrong deadline by which to file a notice of appeal.

Carlson realized his error Monday afternoon, July 8, when he “received a call from defense counsel confirming that no notice had been filed,” according to court documents.

When noting deadlines for appeals, Carlson simultaneously docketed the deadline for an appeal from a Minnesota district court case along with the Sibley litigation.

“The Minnesota Rules of Appellate Procedure require a notice to be filed within 60 days,” according to court documents, while IDP and ChemSol only had 30 days to file an appeal of Strand’s ruling.

A federal judge has not yet ruled on whether the companies’ motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal would be allowed.


BACKGROUND:

Iowa Drying and Processing has been operating at its plant — located at 1020 Fourth Ave. near downtown Sibley — since 2013.

The facility was expected to create at least 30 jobs and was a $1.3 million capital investment in the Osceola County seat city.

ChemSol is the chemical affiliate of North Central Companies, a sales and marketing business based in Minnetonka, MN, that handles a variety of agricultural products domestically and internationally.

IDP is considered an independently owned business that collaborates closely with ChemSol and North Central Companies.

Ownership of the IDP facility in Sibley was transferred from ChemSol to IDP in April 2017.

The Sibley company specializes in the contract manufacturing and processing of food and feed grade products, such as high-protein animal feed supplements for companion and domestic animals.

IDP had gone back and forth with Sibley in Osceola County district and magistrate courts over the smells caused by the company since the city started issuing code violations in regard to environmental nuisances in July 2015.

Because of numerous city code violations, the business has been issued more than 40 citations by the city of Sibley — although none since April 2018 — and has paid more than $40,000 in civil penalties and court costs, plus interest.

In addition to the multiple city code violations, the smelly situation caused by the company has led to a plethora of protests from other Sibley business owners and residents.

Lawsuits that the city of Sibley and IDP filed against each other in Osceola County District Court in April 2016 were dismissed in June 2017.

The counter civil cases had to do with the company’s facility and the odor issues it has caused off and on in the city of about 2,600 for the past few years.

The two-story IDP building, which is about 160,000 square feet, and the 6.71 acres of land it sits on have been on the market since August 2016.

The industrial property is listed for sale on real estate website LoopNet for $4.75 million.