A Federal Judge Allows Twenty-Six Nuisance Lawsuits Against Pork Giant Murphy Brown to Go to a Jury | Triangulator | Indy Week
Pin It

A Federal Judge Allows Twenty-Six Nuisance Lawsuits Against Pork Giant Murphy Brown to Go to a Jury 

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt ruled that the twenty-six federal nuisance lawsuits filed against the pork giant Murphy-Brown LLC can finally go to trial—an important turning point in a high-profile and potentially game-changing case in a state where hog farming is serious business.

The lawsuits were filed by more than five hundred plaintiffs living near Murphy-Brown's industrial hog farms in eastern North Carolina. The neighbors contend that the farms' waste-management systems, which consist of storing excess excrement in massive open-air cesspools and liquifying and spraying the remaining waste onto nearby fields, negatively affect their health and quality of life. They argue that Murphy-Brown's multibillion-dollar parent company, Smithfield Foods, has the resources to manage the pigs' waste in a way that minimizes the odor and nuisance to nearby property owners.

The issue gained notoriety this spring after state Representative Jimmy Dixon, a pork-friendly Republican from Duplin County who has received more than $100,000 from the industry through his political career, introduced a bill that capped the amount of money that property owners living near hog farms could collect in nuisance lawsuits. (Dixon argued that the law should be applied retroactively, essentially nullifying the twenty-six federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown, but that provision was removed from the final bill.) In May, after the legislature overrode Governor Cooper's veto, the bill became law.

Judge Britt's thirty-three-page ruling dealt with various motions filed by Murphy-Brown. Per the company's request, he agreed to seal various documents and to hear a motion that would separate the trials on December 4.

But he rejected Murphy-Brown's argument that North Carolina's right-to-farm law would protect the company's farms from nuisance litigation. In total, he wholly denied eight of the company's sixteen motions, and denied two others in part.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Triangulator



Twitter Activity

Comments

Mr Guy. Thank you for your supreme grammar grading skills. I would note that speaking english(note the lower case e) …

by Timothy Oswald on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

Perhaps I was not direct enough.

Your point was that it was important that new immigrants learn to …

by Guy_Smiley on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Mr Guy. Thank you for your supreme grammar grading skills. I would note that speaking english(note the lower case e) …

by Timothy Oswald on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

Perhaps I was not direct enough.

Your point was that it was important that new immigrants learn to …

by Guy_Smiley on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

Mr Guy. Thank you for grading my comment. Although that was a lot of time spent to not address the …

by Timothy Oswald on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

Re: Mr. Oswald
The first of sentence of your comment has typo; Mr. Oswald means area not are.
The second …

by Guy_Smiley on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

"And having a bilingual society is bad for cultural cohesion. It creates a "then and us", mentality."

It has …

by vidvis on Javiera Caballero Wants One Durham City Council Meeting to Be in Spanish, So English-Speakers Know What It’s Like (Triangulator)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation