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Sriracha Hot Sauce Plant Facing Additional Legal Challenges From Irwindale

An attorney for the city of Irwindale said Friday his clients will add a breach-of-contract claim to a nuisance suit against a Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale that has been ordered to partially shut down in response to smell complaints from residents.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu on Friday scheduled a Nov. 3 jury trial of the city's case against Huy Fong Foods Inc.

Attorney Stephen Onstot, on behalf of the city of Irwindale, said the breach-of-contract allegation will assert that Huy Fong Foods did not comply with certain operating conditions, including that it not emit foul odors. Onstot said the new cause of action will be added within a week and that a jury will be asked to decide both the nuisance and the breach-of-contract claims.

Defense attorney John Tate told Treu he did not object to the amendment of the original complaint.

On Nov. 26, Judge Robert H. O'Brien ordered the company to cease the operations that could be causing the odors and to take steps steps to mitigate them. The injunction does not order the company to stop operating entirely.

Irwindale sued Huy Fong Foods on Oct. 21 after residents living nearby complained of asthma, heartburn and nose bleeds, blaming these conditions on the spicy odor coming from the hot sauce plant.

O'Brien acknowledged in his ruling that there was a "lack of credible evidence' linking the stated health problems to the odor, but said that the odor appears to be "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance."

He wrote that the odor could be "reasonably inferred to be emanating from the facility" and determined that the city is "likely to prevail' in a trial in having the odor declared a public nuisance.

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