Nutrien Asks Trucking Company To Pay Costs After Fertilizer Spill Claiming Negligence

Nutrien Ag Solutions Inc. filed a complaint on Wednesday against trucking companies, which were allegedly transporting Nutrien’s liquid fertilizer when their truck overturned, asking the Central District of Illinois to require the defendant to pay for the over $2 million in clean-up costs Nutrien incurred due to the fertilizer spill. 

The defendants include Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., which does business as CGB Twomey Group (CGB) and Todd Chandler Trucking. According to the complaint, on May 18, 2019 a truck operated by the defendants overturned spilling a tank trailer of liquid agricultural fertilizer.

CBG and Nutrien were reportedly involved in a contract where the defendants would provide the truck and the driver, and Nutrien paid for delivery services to a facility in Gladstone, Illinois which Nutrien had purchased from CBG prior to the incident. Chandler Trucking, at the time of the instance, was a third party representative of CGB, CGB hired the company to complete the contracted transportation.

The over $2 million in costs and expenses were reportedly used for “necessary related and legally mandated environmental remediation.” Nutrien alleged that Chandler Trucking is directly liable for the financial injury to Nutrien, based on its negligence. CGB is liable because of its contractual obligations and as the principal of Chandler Trucking, according to the plaintiff. 

“The tanker overturned as a result of the negligent driving acts and operation by Chandler Trucking, in its capacity as agent of CGB, including, inter alia, the use of excessive speed and the failure to drive in a manner that was appropriate to conditions,” the complaint alleged. 

Reportedly, the overturning of the tanker spilled a fertilizer/herbicide mixture into a waterway causing significant chemical contamination. After the spill, Nutrien worked with a consulting firm to mitigate and remedy the impacts of the chemical release, which reportedly was required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 

Additionally, Nutrien claimed that, because of the negligence of Chandler Trucking, it lost the products and its trailer, tanker, and pump which were attached to the truck were damaged. The plaintiff claimed that these costs which total about $32,592.71, are in addition to the $2,071,337.16 the company spent to mitigate environmental damage from the chemicals. 

Nutrien asked the court for damages, interest on the damages, and attorneys fees. The company is represented by Bailey & Glasser LLP