Hog Farm Neighbors Awarded $50 Million In Nuisance Case in North Carolina

Wall Street Journal writer Maria Armental reported yesterday that, “A North Carolina jury on Thursday reached an unanimous verdict against pork producer Murphy-Brown LLC in a landmark case that could pave the way for more nuisance lawsuits against large-scale livestock operations.

“The company plans to appeal.

In all, jurors awarded more than $50 million to 10 plaintiffs who live near the hog farm, setting compensatory damages at $75,000 and punitive damages at $5 million for each plaintiff.”

The Journal article pointed out that, “The plaintiffs accused Murphy-Brown of failing to take necessary steps to eliminate obnoxious, recurrent odors and other causes of nuisance, including pests that periodically plagued their properties.

“Thursday’s jury verdict in North Carolina federal court is the first in a series of lawsuits against Murphy-Brown, the North Carolina-based subsidiary of China’s WH Group, the world’s largest pork producer which bought the U.S.’s Smithfield Foods in 2013.

A second so-called bellwether case is slated to go to trial next month.”

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