Four defendants were dismissed in the tainted apple cider cases from the 2015 Pike County Fall Color Drive.
The lawsuits came after an outbreak of parasitic illness after attending the event in Barry, Illinois, in October of 2015.
Court records stated Judge Frank McCartney dismissed Peggy Hill, Marilyn Hyde and Barb Brown citing that these three defendants were volunteers and are provided immunity under the federal Volunteer Protection Act.
"The Court finds that a special relationship must be pleaded and proven in order to impose a duty upon these defendants under the facts of this case. No such duty has been pleaded or could be pleaded in this case. Further, even if this Court were to proceed on a regular negligence analysis as requested by plaintiff, the pleadings do not create a legal duty upon these defendants," records stated.
Court records also stated that the court found allegations against the Pike County Chamber of Commerce to be insufficient to impose a legal duty. They stated the court did not find that there was a duty imposed on the PCCC to insure the safety of attendees of the festival and community events that it promotes.
"The Court would further find that the PCCC is protected from negligence suits by the Tort Immunity Act. The affidavit of Kaye Iftner states that the PCCC is a non-profit, tax exempt corporation with members from the Pike County Board, City of Pittsfield and the City of Barry. The facts establish that the PCCC is a public business pursuing activities which benefit the entire community and that it is sufficiently enmeshed with the government and should be afforded the protections of the Tort Immunity Act," records stated.
Defendants Ernest and Leona Yoder of Yoder Brothers Dairy Farm were denied their request to be dismissed, according to court records. They have 14 days to file a response.
Court records stated the court will hear the Yoder’s affidavit at 9 a.m. July 2. The court is also expected to hear argument as to the Countywide Color Drive Committee Motion to Dismiss on that date.
Hill, Hyde, Brown and PCCC were dismissed as defendants against Plaintiffs Thomas and Tameka Sipes and in another case with Plaintiff Melanie Geisendorfer.
Organizers decided earlier this year that the Color Drive would be cancelled.