Krispy Kreme fires back; suit moved to federal court
By: William C. Flook
Examiner Staff Writer
06/14/09 8:31 PM EDT
The running feud between Krispy Kreme and Fairfax County over a ruined sewer system has moved to federal court, and the doughnut maker wants a trial by jury.
It’s the latest legal meandering in a protracted dispute that’s recently garnered national attention, and chuckles.
Fairfax County last month filed a $19 million lawsuit against Krispy Kreme, alleging that years of dumping waste at the company’s Lorton plant clogged and corroded the system’s pipes.
Krispy Kreme, in a U.S. District Court filing last week answering those charges, laid the blame for the damage at the county’s feet.
The county operated the sewer system despite “faulty design and construction,” and knew that sewage would become stagnant over time, “thereby creating conditions that have caused the corrosion to the metal and the failure of the system,” Krispy Kreme alleged.
The neglect led the sewage to become anaerobic, or without oxygen, leading to a buildup of sulfuric acid, Krispy Kreme argued.
Fairfax County’s lawsuit, first reported by The Examiner, charged that the problems originated from “excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants” dumped since 2004 at the Furnace Road doughnut plant.
The county claimed to have at one point run a closed-circuit camera along a pipe to document the buildup of goo, only to get the camera stuck. It said Krispy Kreme ignored the $2 million repair bill.
A Fairfax County spokesman declined comment, citing a policy on pending litigation. Krispy Kreme spokesman Brian Little did not return a call for comment. In May, Little called the lawsuit “completely groundless.”