Trials & Litigation

Kentucky Residents Sue over 'Black Gunk' Whiskey Fungus


The whiskey fungus identified by researchers in a 2007 article has a name—Baudoinia—and a long history of bedeviling those who live near distilleries.

The scientific discovery had led to class-action lawsuits against five major distilleries filed by home and business owners in the area of Louisville, Ky., the New York Times reports. The story describes the fungus as “sooty-looking black gunk” that grows on buildings, cars and porch furniture. Though there is no evidence Baudoinia causes health problems, “it can just look nasty,” the Times says.

Louisville lawyer William McMurry represents the plaintiffs in a suit (PDF) alleging negligence, nuisance and trespass. He previously sued the Vatican for sexual abuse by priests. He suggests the distilleries could adopt a technique used by California wineries to limit ethanol emissions that cause the fungus.

Three of the defendant distilleries have pledged to “vigorously contest” the allegations.

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