LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a lawsuit against poultry companies for using arsenic-based feed could go forward.

The Associated Press reported that the court overturned a lower court ruling, finding that Michael Green and his parents had presented enough evidence to pursue a case against Tyson Foods Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., and Simmons Foods Inc.

The state’s high court said Washington County Circuit Judge Kim Smith should not have granted summary judgment to the companies in 2006, the court also said the judge correctly excluded testimony from an expert witness when the case went to trial against the remaining defendants, the news service reported. In the original suit, the jury had ruled against the family.

"We're certainly disappointed by the ruling but will comply with it and are confident we'll be successful in a trial on this matter," Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told the AP in a statement. "In fact, in 2006 a Washington County jury found in favor of the defendants in a similar case involving the same plaintiffs from Prairie Grove. The jury took only 21 minutes to reach its verdict in favor of Alpharma and Alpharma Animal Health."

Green and his parents, Michael Green Sr. and Mary Green, filed suit in 2003 along with other Prairie Grove, Ark. residents, citing the presence of "cancer clusters" in the community, according to the AP. The court decided in 2006 to hear the claims separately, and the other cases remain pending.

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