Appeals Court Favors Big Hog

A state Court of Appeals panel says it’s okay for the legislature to exempt corporate hog farm polluters from responsibility for the damage their intentionally poor waste management practices routinely cause their neighbors.  

Late last month, judges upheld a lower court decision dismissing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two bills (the Farm Acts of 2017 and 2018). The plaintiffs argued these laws making it all but impossible to sue hog farm corporations for nuisance damage to neighboring property owners are unconstitutional taking of the neighbors’ property rights.

“Lawmakers had passed both bills in direct response to federal nuisance lawsuits filed against Smithfield Foods by hundreds of neighbors of industrialized hog farms. In five of those federal cases, juries eventually awarded millions of dollars in damages to the neighbors. The remaining 20 or so cases were settled out of court. The litigation was filed before the Farm Acts were passed; now those types of lawsuits would unlikely be filed,” reported Lisa Sorg in NC Policy Watch.

Plaintiffs will now likely appeal this decision to the state Supreme Court.

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