IPM Foods seeks damages from city

By AUSTIN MONTGOMERY
Staff writer

BELOIT — A dispute over termination of sewer service has resulted in IPM Foods filing a lawsuit against the City of Beloit.

IPM and the city have run into past disputes, prompting the company to relocate some operations to Janesville. The company is seeking $28,319 for alleged flood damages following a shut-off of IPM’s wastewater service in April of last year by the city. IPM also is seeking costs for filing the lawsuit, according to court records.

The company also contends in its lawsuit a new manhole was installed and billed to IPM. The manhole allows the city to independently monitor pH levels of the company’s wastewater after the city claimed the meter installed by staff was unreadable over multiple weekends last year at an existing manhole. Legal counsel for the company objected to the construction of the new monitoring manhole, which was built in March 2016.

Court records show IPM also claimed it was given no notice prior to sewer service termination, which caused the extreme flooding and food loss.

The city disputes the claim, with disconnection notices from February, seeking nearly $2,247 in overdue utility costs being listed in the circuit court case file. The company paid the overdue bill under protest, according to correspondence between IPM and city staff last March.

Of the damages sought by IPM, the city claims the company “may have failed to mitigate its damages” and that the city seeks a dismissal of all claims made by IPM.
Last year, IPM moved various equipment to Janesville after incurring fines when pH levels in the company’s wastewater were higher than allowable. IPM, which has operated in Beloit since 2007, packages organic soups, sauces, gravies and pumpkin and employs up to 100 people.

City Attorney Elizabeth Krueger confirmed the existence of the ongoing lawsuit, but did not comment on the city’s behalf in the matter. Rockford-based attorney John Rearden, who represents IPM owner Pawel Marciniak, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Beloit City Council will meet in closed session tonight to discuss the lawsuit along with the lawsuit between the city and Beloit landlords; and the Town of Beloit-Beloit boundary agreement, according to the special meeting agenda.

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