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Workers withdraw complaint against Deerfield dairy farmer Stephen Melnik

DEERFIELD — Two employees of the Bar-Way Farm have withdrawn their complaint of state sanitary code violations against dairy farmer Stephen Melnik.

John Connor of Stobierski and Stobierski law office in Greenfield, who is representing Melnik, said “both sides are satisfied that the appropriate progress is happening. The farm owner is complying with what’s required of him.”

Melnik, owner of the Bar-Way Farm on Mill Village Road, was sued earlier this month by two employees, Benito Andrade and Sonia Luna, who complained the home Melnik provided them at 174 Mill Village Road did not meet state sanitary codes.

The couple continue to work for Melnik and are living in the Rainbow Motel in Whately, Connor said.

Jennifer Dieringer, a lawyer from Community Legal Aid in Northampton representing the two employees, is withdrawing the motion against Melnik. She said the two sides have reached an agreement.

Andrade and Luna filed a complaint in housing court, requesting a preliminary injunction against Melnik and his farm for alleged negligence, unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and violation of the state sanitary code.

An August health inspection by the town cited Melnik for 47 violations and ordered the farmer to clean up the house by Oct. 4.

Issues included lack of potable water, raw human sewage in the basement due to a backup of the sewage system into the property, failure to provide a working toilet, lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, serious infestation of bees and rodents and issues with the roof, ceilings and walls.

Connor said his client is working to repair the home.

“He’s closing in on completing all the necessary repairs,” Connor said. “There is no exact date, but the house will be ready in a short period of time.”

Deerfield Health Agent and Building Inspector Richard Calisewski said Melnik is making progress on the house. Calisewski said Melnik is replacing the well, putting in a new water line and had an engineer check the septic system. He said the farmer is having the rooms painted and walls patched.

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