North Carolina Health News,
Catherine Clabby and Mark Tosczak,
January 2, 2018-
Despite efforts by some legislators and the livestock industry to prevent it, neighbors to industrial-scale hog farms in eastern North Carolina seem poised to pursue monetary damages against hog farms. U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt in December rejected a plaintiff’s claim that state right-to-farm laws shield the operations from nuisance litigation. He said that trials in the first of 26 lawsuits against densely packed hog farms could start in April.
More than 500 people living near tightly packed swine barns have filed 26 suits under the state’s nuisance laws.They say animals in the facilities create offensive odors, fumes and toxic waste, and that neighbors deserve monetary damages for enduring it. Last spring, some Republican legislators backed by hog and poultry trade groups tried to pass a law limiting court awards in these cases. After some Republican and Democratic legislators warned against meddling in ongoing court cases, a bill passed but exempted ongoing lawsuits. Such nuisance lawsuits have increased nationally in recent years, with plaintiffs losing and winning.