Judge tosses part of lawsuit by Murray Hill residents against Jacksonville perfume plant

File photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys for a Jacksonville-area perfume plant argued successfully Wednesday to have a portion of a lawsuit filed against the plant dismissed.

Murray Hill homeowners behind the suit argue that strong smells they believe are coming from the Westside facility make life unbearable, but International Flavors and Fragrances Chemical Holdings said the lawsuit had no merit because the homeowner’s claims do not legally meet the standard of being a nuisance.

The judge sided in part with IFF and dismissed the nuisance claims, according to Michael Munz, IFF’s local market spokesperson. (Scroll down to read Munz’s full statement.)

News4JAX has followed this story for years. Homeowners, particularly in the Murray Hill neighborhood, began reaching out to us saying they were being awakened in the middle of the night by the smell of strong fumes that they believe are coming from the IFF plant on Lane Avenue North. Others said they could smell it well into the morning hours.

They described the smell as being like Pine Sol but intensified. Some went so far as to say it was giving them headaches, making them feel nauseated, and overall diminishing their quality of life.

The city of Jacksonville told us earlier this year it had received nearly 3,000 complaints about the smell between Jan. 1, 2021, and Feb. 1, 2022.

A contractor installed odor sensors in nearby parks earlier this year. For the latest reports from that study, go to the city’s Jacksonville Urban Odor Study page.

Munz pointed out that so far, the study indicates a number of potential places where people could be having issues in the Westside area and several companies that are having more of an odor impact on the Murray Hill area than IFF.

Full statement from Munz:

Regarding today’s hearing, the judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ nuisance claims against IFF. We appreciate the opportunity to present our position and the supporting case law. We will submit a proposed order to the judge as requested.

Today’s hearing did not address the question of the source of objectionable odors in Murray Hill.

The City of Jacksonville-commissioned Envirosuite odor study is a yearlong study. At this time, no conclusions, recommendations, or action items have been shared by the City or Envirosuite.

Preliminary data from the City of Jacksonville-commissioned Envirosuite study suggests that other facilities, which are closer to Murray Hill, are more likely to be contributing to objectionable odors there.

We take very seriously our commitment to ensure that our environmental, health and safety practices are best-in-class, that we comply with all laws, and that we operate with integrity as an employer, community member and a good neighbor.

Throughout more than 20 years of operation at our Jacksonville plant, we have utilized robust monitoring processes to ensure that we are preventing odor and complying with all our permits and applicable laws.

We are fully cooperating with the City of Jacksonville and remain in communication with the City regarding complaints of objectionable odors.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.