WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County, Iowa DNR, IFC Could Face New Lawsuit

May 29, 2015

A Lee County couple has started the clock on potential legal action against the county, the state, and a local business over the condition of the gravel road in front of their home.

Frankie and Geriann Reyes sued the county in December, claiming heavy trucks hauling rock from a quarry to Iowa Fertilizer Company's new plant near Wever were kicking up an excessive amount of dust. They said that dust is affecting their health and their quality of life.

District Court Judge John Wright dismissed that lawsuit this month.  In his ruling, he wrote the court had no jurisdiction in this case because Iowa Code 455B.111 required the Reyes' to inform the parties involved of their intent to sue.

In response, the attorney for the Reyes', Curtis Dial of Keokuk, sent a letter to Lee County, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Fertilizer Company.  Lee County received the letter Thursday morning.  (You can read the letter here)

In it, Dial wrote that "the amount of dust created on the road prohibits the Reyes from going outside as they wish but also creates health problems associated with the dust.  The Reyes have already incurred significant damages as a result of this violation."

The letter, which is dated May 25, 2015, goes on to state "Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 455B.111(2), notice is hereby given to the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the alleged violators, Lee County, Iowa and Iowa Fertilizer Company, LLC, that Frankie and Geriann Reyes intend to commence a civil action in District Court 60 days from the date of this letter unless the violation identified herein is abated and remedial action is taken and the Reyes are compensated for the damages they have incurred."

The 60-day waiting period would conclude in late July.