Vineyard owner suing neighbor, aviation company for damaging his crops

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STEPHENS COUNTY, Okla. - A man is suing his neighbor and a Texas aviation company after they crop dusted his vineyard, damaging his grape crop.

The damages will cost of over $125,000.

Randy Miller has owned his vineyard in Stephens County for nine years.

He says some years produce a better grape crop than others, but this past year he faced a huge set back.

"Approximately a year ago, someone hired an aerial sprayer 2,4-D and possibly some other pesticides with it, herbicides I should say,” Miller said.

The aviation company, L&H Aviation, which was hired by Miller’s neighbor, was spraying a field over a mile away from Miller’s property.

"The wind was out of the southeast and that's to the direction that there pasture is from my vineyard,” Miller said.

The irrigation chemicals then blew onto his property, leaving him with thousands and thousands of dollars in damage.

"It's basically an extreme growth hormone, it makes it grow to death. That's what it was originally developed as was a growth hormone,” Miller said.

They are often used to kill weeds.

Miller says unfortunately this was the first good crop he’s had since 2012.

"It's definitely frustrating, it requires a lot of work to get to this stage, but things happen though sometimes,” Miller said.

That’s why he recently decided to file a lawsuit against his neighbors and the aviation company, as well as a complaint with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

“They have a website that everyone can look and see if there's a sensitive crop, or bees like if someone has an apiary and this guy was out of Texas so I'm sure he didn't bother to check our website,” Miller said.

He says they may settle this through insurance out of court, but filing the lawsuit was the best way to get ball rolling.

At last check, the defendants had not filed a response to the lawsuit and we were unable to reach them.

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