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Appeals court: Manure isn’t pollutant under policy

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin appeals court says manure isn’t a pollutant as defined in an insurance policy.

The case began in 2011 when the state Department of Natural Resources notified West Bend dairy farmer Robert Falk that manure spread on his fields had contaminated neighbors’ wells. The neighbors demanded compensation. Falk notified his insurance company, Wilson Mutual.

The company’s policy excluded coverage for damage caused by pollutants, including waste. A judge this year ruled the exclusion is valid, ruling farmers consider manure waste.

But the 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed that finding Wednesday. The court said farmers consider manure a nutrient for their fields, not a pollutant, and Wilson Mutual’s pollution exclusion doesn’t apply to manure used as fertilizer.

The company’s attorney declined comment. Falk’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message.

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