Class Sues Distillery Over Whiskey Fungus

     LOUISVILLE (CN) – Homeowners claim in a federal class action that emissions from a Diageo Americas distillery are feeding a “whiskey fungus” that eats airborne alcohol, and that the ugly black fungus has contaminated their homes.
     Lead plaintiff Bruce Merrick, five other Louisville residents and a business sued Diageo Americas Supply, which operates a distillery and warehouse in Louisville.
     They claim their property has been damaged by the booze-loving fungus.
     “Defendant’s operations cause the fungus Baudoinia compniacensis, colloquially referred to as ‘whiskey fungus,’ to accumulate on real and personal property in the vicinity of defendant’s operations in Kentucky,” the complaint states.
     “The accumulation of whiskey fungus on plaintiffs’ property and the property of others similarly caused by defendant’s operations creates an unsightly condition requiring abnormal and costly cleaning and maintenance, early weathering of surfaces affected by the fungus and causes unreasonable and substantial annoyance and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the property, and, as a result of which, the value, value of use and/or the rental value of the property is reduced.
     “Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and all others who have similarly suffered injury to their Kentucky property as a result of the defendant’s conduct described herein.”
     Baudoinia compniacensis is named for the French pharmacist Antonin Baudoin, who wondered in 1872 why the black, sooty fungus grew on the walls and roofs of buildings near distilleries in Cognac. It turns out that the ascomycete fungus likes to feed on airborne alcohol.
     Ascomycetes, or sac fungi, are the largest phylum of fungus, with more than 64,000 species. The fungus is not believed to be harmful to the plants and buildings it grows on – it’s just ugly.
     The class seeks an injunction and damages for trespass, nuisance and negligence. They are represented by William McMurry and Douglas Morris.

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