Suit claims whiskey vapors leave spots

May 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM
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LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 31 (UPI) -- A class-action lawsuit filed in Louisville, Ky., claims vapors from the process of aging whiskey carry a fungus that creates black spots on homes and cars.

The suit was filed Wednesday in federal court against three Louisville liquor-makers, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

"It's a question of controlling what has been known to permanently color and damage the surfaces" of cars and homes near distilling and whiskey warehousing operations, said attorney William F. McMurry, who filed the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names Diageo Americas Supply Inc., Brown-Forman Corp. and Heaven Hill Distilleries.

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has been investigating complaints of black spots on some homes and cars near liquor-making operations, the Courier-Journal said.

McMurry said the district had tested spots recently at the home of the lead plaintiff, Joseph M. Billy, and detected baudoinia compniacensis, commonly known as "whiskey fungus" or "angel's share fungus."

Tom Nord, a spokesman for the air district, said the district has been investigating "complaints about a sooty substance on homes and other property in the Shively area."

He said officials "identified it as some sort of nonlethal mold. We don't believe it is harmful to human health, but it is a nuisance."

Nord said he would not offer further comment while the district is investigating and would not comment on the lawsuit.

The three liquor-makers issued a joint statement saying: "While we are sympathetic to the concerns of the plaintiffs, the blackening of some buildings and other structures is due to a naturally occurring common mold that is found widely throughout the environment, including in areas unrelated to the production of whiskey. The companies involved do not believe that they have caused any harm to the plaintiffs or their property, and we will vigorously contest these claims."

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