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Thu, Feb 03, 2011

California Olive Grower Expands Lawsuits

Balloon Customers Subpoenaed By JCM Farming

The lawsuit brought by a California olive grower in the Palm Springs area is getting a bit more absurd by the day. Now, JCM Farming has added a real estate company as defendants, and subpoenaed a couple who were passengers in a balloon operated by Magical Adventure Balloon Rides.

The area is well known for hot-air ballooning. The Desert Sun reports on mydesert.com that JCM retrieved the names of Magical Adventure's customers through depositions and records obtained by court orders.

Most local balloon operators have suspended flights to avoid being swept up in what appears to be an ever-broadening lawsuit, and to keep any potential customers from having to deal with the situation as well.

Still, JCM's attorney said they are not trying to shut down all ballooning activities in the area, and have no issue with flights above 1,000 feet.

But the paper indicates that one operator received an e-mail with a settlement proposal from JCM's attorneys in which he was asked to agree to not operate a balloon over JCM property "at any time or at any altitude," and at no lower than 1,000 feet in a large area surrounding the farm. The company said a $10,000 fine would be imposed for every violation (no word on who would enforce that, ed.) and that the balloonist would be prohibited from saying anything negative about JCM either verbally or in writing. The balloonist said he would not be signing the agreement.

FMI: www.riverside.courts.ca.gov

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