Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Couple wins $25 million in N.C. hog-farm nuisance case

A jury awarded more than $25 million to a couple in North Carolina in a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, for the smell, files, loud trucks and other nuisances related to living next to one of the company's hog farms. The plaintiffs, Elvis and Vonnie Williams, live in Duplin County in the southeastern area of the state.

"The verdict came on Friday after the jury deliberated for three days behind closed doors. It is the second verdict for hog farm neighbors in a series filed against Smithfield," Anne Blythe reports for The News & Observer in Raleigh. "The decision also comes in a week in which North Carolina lawmakers adopted a new Farm Act that restricts when and how neighbors can bring such claims in court in the future."

The verdict is significant for North Carolina, which has more hogs than any other state besides Iowa. That's why it's also likely to be appealed, which could reduce the amount of the award. The North Carolina Pork Council said in a statement that the verdict is "heartbreaking and could have severe and unforeseen economic consequences for our farmers, the pork industry and all of North Carolina agriculture," Blythe reports.

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