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Jury once again rules against hog farms

By Erin Smith

A Wake County jury has ruled against Murphy Brown LLC in the fifth hog farm nuisance to be held in federal court in Raleigh. The verdict reached on Friday evening awarded the plaintiffs a total of $420,000, much lower than the past five verdicts.

The jury awarded the plaintiffs $139,000 in compensatory damages and $281,000 in punitive damages for a total of $420,000.

This is the fifth hog farm nuisance trial out of 25 such lawsuits that have been filed. The trial began at the end of January 2019. The lawsuit featured jurors hearing from Texas Attorney Michael Kaeske about odors, the presence of flies, and other conditions that were blamed on the hog farm operation.

Attorneys representing Murphy-Brown LLC argued that the plaintiffs in the case failed to present any relevant facts to the court that supported their argument. In a motion to dismiss the case, which ultimately failed, attorneys for Murphy-Brown LLC argued the hog operations contracted with Murphy-Brown LLC operated without violations in 2011 and 2012. The farm in question in this case is not owned by Murphy-Brown LLC, but rather it is owned by Joey Carter, who is a contract grower for Murphy-Brown, LLC.

As a result of the verdicts in the first four lawsuits, Joey Carter and William Kinlaw were both notified by Smithfield Foods that animals were being removed from their farms, according to reports.

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