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By Erin Smith

While many businesses and individuals may have barely noticed the federal government shutdown, it has impacted the ongoing hog farm nuisance trials. The fifth case in the hog farm nuisance lawsuits was scheduled to begin jury selection on Tuesday, January 8, 2019; however a court order was issued on Thursday, January 3, indicating the trial has been suspended until the federal budget resolution is resolved.

The lawsuits have been filed against Murphy-Brown, LLC and claim to target hog farms owned by the company. This lawsuit will be the fifth case out of 26 nuisance lawsuits that have been filed against the company in the Federal District Court for the Eastern Division in Wake County.

The plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Kaeske, from Texas, is alleging once more in court documents the plaintiffs cannot enjoy the use of their property due to an abundance of flies and smells which he claims are the result of the hog farm. The court records also lists complaints about truck traffic attributed to the farm as well.

The court records show the Joey Carter Hog Farm located near the town of Beaulaville in Duplin County listed as a defendant along with Murphy-Brown, LLC. According to the court documents, the farm produces 4,740 feeder to finish hogs.

Attorneys representing Murphy-Brown LLC argue that the plaintiffs in the case have failed to “allege facts sufficient to state such claims.” In a motion to dismiss the case, which ultimately failed, attorneys for Murphy-Brown LLC argue 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.

Mark Anderson also wrote, “Far from acknowledging Murphy-Brown’s compliance with regulatory and legal standards, Plaintiffs’ Complaint is a diatribe against the hog industry in general and its perceived impact on society and the environment. As support for their claims, plaintiffs rely on various studies or reports critical of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs”) as part of a larger effort to eliminate CAFOs altogether.”

The first three hog farm nuisance lawsuits have ended in large payouts to the plaintiffs. The fourth lawsuit, which was overseen by Judge David Faber, saw another verdict for the plaintiffs in the case, they did not receive a large payout.

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