Tennessee Test: Property Owner Sued to Recover Meth Lab Clean-up Costs


Tennessee's meth lab cleanup program was in disarray last July when La Vergne, Tn., police learned of a home-based drug cooking operation tucked into a neighborhood cul-de-sac, says The Tennessean. No one was picking up the phone for the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, and federal funding for cleanups had been yanked. Unsure if the state would help, local emergency crews went ahead gathering harmful chemicals and decontaminating six children found living with a man and woman renting the home.

Six months later, the question is how to pay for the kind of expensive cleanup law enforcement has increasingly encountered in recent years. Tennessee has started a new statewide cleanup program that has shown enough success that it's being watched closely by other states. Meanwhile, the city may sue the homeowner to recover the $6,486 cost of the cleanup. City Attorney Evan Cope may go after property owner Amos Zain under a nuisance code, describing the action as a test case. Zain protests, saying, “I'm getting bullied to pay for something that I had nothing to do with. These people who decided to break the law, who came recommended from someone who was paid to bring me good tenants, came back to bite me.”

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