North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against 'nuisance' lawsuits that all but eliminate the ability of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness.
ALEX DEROSIER: ‘A federal jury decided Friday that the world’s largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks… The jury awarded $23.5 million in compensatory damages and $450 million in punitive damages, which will be reduced to a total of $94 million under limits in state law.
The jury found that Smithfield Foods owes compensation to six neighbors who complained in their lawsuit that the company failed to stop “the obnoxious, recurrent odors and other causes of nuisance” resulting from closely packed hogs, which “generate many times more sewage than entire towns”… One neighbor who was not part of the suit compared the waste stench to long-dead corpses he found during his career as a police officer and firefighter, news outlets reported.
Industry group the North Carolina Pork Council decried the jury’s decision in a statement warning that it could lead to more lawsuits across the country… North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against ‘nuisance’ lawsuits that all but eliminate the ability of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness. Critics billed the legislation as an attack on private property rights in order to protect a well-heeled industry’. SOURCE…