By Charlotte Smith
Three lawsuits against Murphy-Brown, LLC were presided over by U.S. District Judge Earl Britt. The outcome of those lawsuits handed down awards in the millions of dollars for the Plaintiffs who are also neighbors of the hog farms Murphy-Brown, LLC contracts with to produce hogs for Smithfield.
After farm families complained about Britt’s handling of the first three cases and the awards of the trials increasing to almost half a billion dollars a new judge was announced to take the bench. U.S. District Judge David Faber from West Virginia will preside over the next two cases in the hog industry lawsuits.
There are 23 more cases remaining to be heard in the pork production suits. Faber has only announced to take over the next two— Gillis v. Murphy-Brown and Anderson vs. Murphy-Brown. The new judge designation is not disqualifying Britt from the lawsuits, according the announcement.
The trials debate odors and other nuisances from the hog farms and their lagoons in Southeastern North Carolina and the infringement on their neighbors’ rights to enjoy their own property. The differences between the two judges presiding over these cases potentially could include what may be considered as evidence allowed in the trials and the interpretation of the laws presented during the trial.
According to research, Faber was appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush; whereas, Britt was appointed by Carter. Faber is also ten years younger than Britt.