A property management firm is suing the operator of a Turner egg farm for barring its workers from the site after one of the property management firm’s employees shot and killed a farm worker.

C&M Property Management, which is based in Franklin, Connecticut, said it was hired in 2006 to oversee “rodent control” on the farm, which it did by sending workers to shoot rats and mice on the farm.

In August 2013, a C&M employee, Michael Warbin, shot Manuel Adame, who worked for the farm’s operator, Moark Egg Farm, inside a barn that was being cleared. Warbin pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge in Androscoggin County Superior Court in 2014 and was sentenced to serve 45 days of a three-year sentence and perform 500 hours of community service.

In a lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court in Portland on June 19, C&M alleges that Moark, based in Missouri, bears some responsibility for the shooting because it failed to make sure “its facilities were safe for C&M’s pest control efforts.” In addition to C&M’s allegation of negligence in the shooting and a charge of breach of contract – for barring the pest control workers from the farm after the shooting and hiring a new contractor – the property management company is also alleging that Moark defamed the company by saying that it didn’t know that C&M employees were using guns to clear the pests off the farm.

The lawsuit said Moark never took any of the steps required to terminate the contract for pest control services.

As a result of Moark’s statements about C&M’s “trade, profession and/or occupation,” the suit says, C&M has found it “impossible” to find work in the pest control industry.

The suit seeks unspecified damages. It was filed two years after the shooting and is scheduled for a four-day jury trial in federal court in two weeks.

The Turner farm was once operated by Austin “Jack” DeCoster, who owned and operated egg farms in Maine that for years faced allegations of wrongdoing, ranging from falsifying trucking logs to violating workers’ rights and running afoul of environmental regulations.

In 2015, DeCoster said he was turning over his farms to Land O’Lakes. Moark, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, sold its lease to operate the farms to Hillandale, a Pennsylvania-based egg producer. Decoster said he would have no role in managing the Maine egg farms.

Jack DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, were also blamed for a 2010 salmonella outbreak that was traced to one of their Iowa egg farms. They paid $7 million in fines to food safety regulators and millions more in civil suits. The DeCosters were also sentenced to three months in jail, which they are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for C&M and Moark did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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