• 54°

Catahoula trial ends in settlement

VIDALIA — A trial revolving around environmental damage to land in a nearby parish that occupied the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center for two weeks ended in a sealed settlement.

According to the Catahoula Parish Judge’s office, the details of the April 5 settlement have been sealed, meaning no one, not even members of the jury for the trial, will be allowed to know the details.

Judge Glen Strong was appointed to the case by the Louisiana Supreme Court due to the magnitude of the litigation and conflicts involving the two Seventh Judicial District resident judges.

Strong said the case was originally to be tried in court in Harrisonburg, but due to numerous reasons, the move to the convention center in Vidalia was made.

Strong said a lack of hotels in Harrisonburg was one of the reasons that prompted the switch.

“All but two of the attorneys are from out of the area,” he said. “There was no place for them to stay there, so this was a convenience for them.”

The convention center’s technology and amenities were another factor in having the trial in Vidalia, Strong said.

“There are thousands of pages of documents as evidence for this trial, and they wanted to present them all on slides,” he said. “They are using the convention center’s computers and monitors to put it up on the screen so the jury doesn’t have to go through the pages individually.”

Strong said the Harrisonburg court also did not have enough capacity in the courtroom to hold everyone and there were not enough electrical outlets for the trial.

In 2005, M J Farms purchased approximately 42,000 acres of farmland situated in southern Catahoula and northern Avoyelles Parish that was formerly a portion of Louisiana Delta Plantation.

In April 2006, M J Farms filed a suit in the parish asserting claims for environmental damage that occurred in the purchased property due to oil and gas exploration over the past 60 years.

Strong referred to the case in a press release as one of the largest cases of its kind in the U.S.

Before the trial began, a jury of 12 Catahoula Parish residents, with three alternates, was selected at the courthouse in Harrisonburg.

The jurors were provided transportation to and from Harrisonburg each day for the trial.

Due to all the added complexity of the trial, Strong thanked all those involved with the proceedings for all of their hard work and dedication with the trial proceedings.

News

City moves forward with pool improvements

News

Natchez man killed in apparent home invasion in Moss Point

News

ACCS 8th-grader places first in state essay contest

News

Free breast exams in November yielded surprising results

News

Myers, 68, tries out acting in ABC’s ‘Women of the Movement’ series

News

CPSO investigators arrest man for stealing trailers, heavy equipment from multiple parishes

News

Officials present top priorities for legislative session in forum

News

Pascagoula native 1st female official to work a Super Bowl

News

Analysis: Transition turmoil splits Mississippi delegation

COVID-19

Sunday update: State health department reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

COVID-19

State health department reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

News

Merit Health nurse remembered for selfless nature

News

Florida couple start fundraiser to secure, restore historic home here

News

Two men arrested for theft, damage at old International Paper

News

Natchez projects awarded over $350,000 from MDAH grants

News

Sheriff’s office investigating shots fired in Adams County Wednesday night

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez police arrested teen in Wednesday night murder

News

More donate to Children’s Christmas Tree fund

News

Murder investigation of Natchez native now streaming on Discovery+

News

Harbor Freight Tools excited to be joining Natchez community

News

Supervisors approve contract for new engineering firm

COVID-19

State reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

News

Adams County seeks study for new fire stations

News

Jackson State band to perform in Biden inauguration event