Attorneys dispute trial time in Earth Recycling case

MINOT, N.D. – The attorneys in the case between the city of Minot and a recycling plant left in ruins from a fire earlier this year are disputing when the two sides should go trial.

A large fire in May destroyed Earth Recycling, which lies just off the Highway 83 bypass, just west of the Minot city limits but within the city’s jurisdictional boundaries.

The city of Minot had filed a ‘cease and desist’ order against Earth Recycling and the owner of the land in July, contesting that the plant needs to comply with zoning ordinances updated in 2013. The Jesz family, who runs the plant, argued they should be grandfathered in to the 2008 law instead.

The Jesz family wanted to keep the plant running during litigation, arguing they need to continue recycling operations in order to clean up the mess, and otherwise would lose revenue and be forced to lay off their staff.

Judge Douglas Mattson, however, ruled against them, saying they did not meet their burden of proof, forcing the family to halt operations in October, but he encouraged city leaders to do what was necessary to help the family continue cleanup.

The attorney representing Earth Recycling and the landowner called for a mid-March trial at a teleconference with Mattson Monday morning, but the attorney for the City of Minot argued they needed more time, saying a late June or early July trial would be more appropriate.

Judge Mattson said he would rule soon on the schedule for evidence, motions, and the pending trial.