A family-owned dairy farm in Lewiston, Minn., is suing the defunct Hastings Creamery for an unpaid milk bill of more than $800,000.
Valley Acres Dairy was not fully paid for milk delivered between April 1 and Aug. 15 this year, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month in Dakota County.
The dairy is also suing Glenwood State Bank, alleging the bank froze assets, "illegally preferencing other creditors."
"Glenwood State Bank knew or had reason to know Hastings Creamery was not paying sellers for their milk" but locked funds away anyway, the lawsuit alleges.
A lawyer for Hastings Creamery co-owner Justin Malone declined to comment. An attorney for the bank could not be reached for comment.
The 110-year-old Hastings Creamery closed its doors in August. The Metropolitan Council shut off the creamery's sewer service in June after it leaked thousands of gallons of milk and cream into the sewer.
"I don't think the Met Council really understood the ramifications of what that does for the operations out there, and then we can't take our milk there and get it processed," Carey Tweten, co-owner of Valley Acres Dairy, told the Star Tribune this spring.
The lawsuit says the creamery "deliberately, recklessly and/or negligently" caused the leak.
The farm was one of dozens of Minnesota and Wisconsin suppliers for Hastings Creamery counting on a solution that would keep the creamery open.
"We're not trying to just protect our family and our family farm," co-owner Emily Tweten told the Star Tribune this spring, "we're trying to protect the people who need to eat, the people in poverty and our communities that are affected when agriculture goes out."
New owners were being sought for Hastings Creamery before a fire destroyed the milk plant earlier this month. The cause remains under investigation.
Staff writer Christopher Vondracek contributed to this report.