North Carolina jury awards $25 million in hog suit
A North Carolina jury awarded more than $25 million to a couple who filed a nuisance lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, for the swarms of flies, stench, rumbling trucks and other downsides of the hog farm next door.
The same week, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have severely limited how and when neighbors of hog farms can sue the agricultural business next door with nuisance claims.
National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl said, “For the second time in as many months, a North Carolina verdict has come back in favor of plaintiffs after a jury was prevented from visiting the farm subjected to baseless claims.”
“We are deeply troubled by this decision against a farm that has operated responsibly and in compliance with state laws since 1985 and that maintains the highest standards of environmental and community stewardship.
“American hog farmers already face serious headwinds, including export market uncertainty caused by ongoing trade disputes,” Heimerl said. “We can’t allow trial-lawyer abuse of our legal system to continue as it threatens the livelihood of livestock farming families, undermines the rural economy and unnecessarily increases food prices for consumers.”