A federal judge has slashed the damages awarded to neighbors of a North Carolina hog farm.
Politico reports that a federal judge has lowered the award to $2.5 million from $50 million. The judge reduced the award because of a cap on damages set by state law. Last month, a North Carolina jury ruled that Murphy Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, must pay its neighbors $50 million in damages as the result of a nuisance lawsuit. The plaintiffs complained that waste from the farm smelled so bad that it limited their access to the outdoors, and that the farm’s open waste lagoons attracted buzzards and flies.
The jury in the case took less than 24 hours to reach a verdict. The trial involved ten plaintiffs who live near a farm that contracts with Smithfield to raise 15,000 hogs.