Farm Groups Demand Justice for North Carolina Hog Farmers

A judgment stemming from a $50 million verdict must be overturned, according to farm groups appearing in a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, this week. Last year, juries in three separate trials in Raleigh, North Carolina, awarded punitive damages of more than $500 million to neighbors of North Carolina hog farms. Plaintiffs claimed the odor and truck noise related to the farms should be declared a nuisance. The first judgment from these trials is the subject of the recent appeal. But, runaway damages awards based on commonplace and highly regulated farm activities would cause enormous harm to farmers and rural communities, according to a brief filed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and North Carolina Pork Council. Attorneys noted the North Carolina Right to Farm Act, which recognizes that normal farming practices do not constitute a nuisance, insulates farmers from these types of suits.