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Nestle Lawsuit Against Fryeburg To Be Heard in Supreme Court on January 13

Nestle Waters of North America’s ongoing lawsuit against Fryeburg – the small Maine community that doesn’t want Nestle to build a 24/7 truck loading station in a residential area – opens its next saga on Tuesday, January 13.

After filing a lawsuit and four subsequent appeals, Nestle’s never prevailed against the town, but clearly that hasn’t stopped them from trying, and on Tuesday, the case returns to the Maine Supreme Court.

It’s an example of Nestle’s heavy-handed legal approach to small rural towns – one that belies their frequent protestations that they’re good corporate neighbors (via the Water in the News blog):

Jan. 13 (Portland, ME) Nestle Waters v. Fryeburg

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
142 Federal Street, Portland, ME
Oral Argument Schedule
Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 3:00 pm
Nestle Waters North America v. Town of Fryeburg et al. (Oxf-08-419)
Maine Supreme Judicial Court – Clerk’s Office

Matthew Pollack, Esq., Clerk (207) 822-4146
Sally A. Enoch, Esq., Staff Attorney (207) 822-4266

Nestle’s profit motive here must be sizable; not only have they incurred a lot of legal expenses (this is their second trip to the Maine Supreme Court on this issue), they’ve also created the bottled water equivalent of the Alamo – a very real warning to other small rural towns about the risks of involving yourself with the world’s largest food & beverage company.

The long and tortured history behind the Fryeburg mess is covered in Elizabeth Royte’s excellent Bottlemania book, though you’ll have to fill in the more recent events right here on the Internet.

It’s not a pretty picture; at one point Nestle’s lawyers argued their right to grow market share superceded the town’s right to say no:

Like the citizens of Fryeburg – especially those who don’t adore the idea of trucks driving through residentially zoned areas all day and night – we anxiously await the outcome.