California olive farm drops lawsuit against balloonists

August 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: The Desert Sun

Hot-air balloonists celebrated when an east valley olive farm dropped its lawsuit against them Aug. 15 after nearly 2 1/2 years. But the damage had already been done.

A dozen balloonists or balloon companies went out of business, left the area or simply stopped flying locally. People lost their jobs and ran up big debts defending themselves. One balloonist said he ran up $177,000 in attorney’s fees.

All of this occurred with JCM Farming Inc., the plaintiff in the lawsuit, never once having to show proof to a judge that its initial, central complaint was true: That the balloonists had flown too low over its property and caused a nuisance.

The lawsuit illustrated what many see as a pervasive problem in the U.S. justice system, especially in California: well-financed litigants can run small businesses and individuals into the ground, often grinding out cases for years. [Full story]

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