JACKSONVILLE, Fla — (The video above is from a previous report)
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday by Murray Hill homeowners against IFF Chemical Holdings and International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., claiming a Jacksonville factory's stench is destroying their way of life.
The three plaintiffs say a "noxious" odor from an IFF factory on Lane Avenue has lowered their property values and keeps them trapped inside their homes.
The federal judge said every party in the case is in Florida, meaning the case needs to face state-level ruling. Their attorney was seeking class action status and says she still will be.
“At this time we are assessing all of the options available to us," said the plaintiffs' attorney Laura Sheets. "We will continue to pursue our clients’ claims as a class action in any jurisdiction.”
The odor has been reported more than 700 times to the City of Jacksonville between October and May, with complaints as far as Ortega.
IFF representatives deny the Lane Avenue factory is the source of the odor.
IFF spokesman Michael Munz said earlier this year the company is in compliance with its air emissions permit and pointed to a study conducted by an IFF consultant.
"The study did not indicate that IFF was the cause," Munz said. "Now there are other plants in the area. We're not particularly pointing a finger at any one plant. We want to know as much as everybody else does, what is the cause?"
Residents are not convinced and have called IFF's stance "gaslighting."
IFF representatives have always denied that the factory is the source of the odor.
However, city records from the 1980s and First Coast News interviews from 2014 show complaints about the Lane Avenue factory date back many years. The factory also releases high levels of toxic chemicals that are unrelated to the smell, according to data from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.