North Carolina Lawmakers Pass Tougher Restrictions on Hog Farm Lawsuits

The Associated Press reported yesterday that, “North Carolina legislators have finalized tougher restrictions upon neighbors of hog farms seeking to sue for damages because of the stench and other nuisances coming from industrial-scale livestock operations.

“The state Senate agreed Thursday night by a 32-9 vote to accept House changes to legislation spurred on by the agribusiness industry following the results of the first of nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against pork producers. Smithfield Foods was hit with a nearly $51 million verdict — cut to about $3 million because of state limits on punitive damages.

Language within a wide-ranging farm bill would all but block other neighbors from suing the operations in the future. Farmers have filled Legislative Building galleries this week supporting the changes.”

The AP article noted that, “The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who hasn’t said whether he’ll veto it, sign it or let it become law without his signature. But fellow Democrats and even several Republicans have complained the measure would give the influential hog industry an unfair advantage under the law and deny private property rights to eastern North Carolina residents living with the odors.”

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