A federal judge says the state of Oklahoma is entitled to a jury trial for a part of its civil lawsuit against Arkansas poultry companies.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell ruled Wednesday that a jury could determine whether the companies are liable for civil penalties under one of the state's anti-pollution laws.

The companies wanted Frizzell to hear the case from the bench, claiming that a series of pretrial victories eliminated the need for a jury.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing 12 poultry companies, claiming excessive application of chicken waste has resulted in runoff polluting the Illinois River watershed.

The case has drawn national attention because it could lead to similar lawsuits across the country challenging how the industry does business.

A trial is set for Sept. 21.

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