Jury tells pork giant to pay $473.5M in nuisance lawsuit


    FILE - In this July 21, 2017 file photo, a hog waste pond is seen at a farm that has hogs owned by Smithfield Foods in Farmville, N.C. A federal jury decided Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, that the world's largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks. The jury found that Smithfield Foods owes compensation to 16 neighbors who complained in their lawsuit that the company failed to stop “the obnoxious, recurrent odors and other causes of nuisance” resulting from closely packed hogs, which “generate many times more sewage than entire towns.” (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

    A federal jury says the world's largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.

    The jury decided Friday that Smithfield Foods owes 16 neighbors in the case stemming from nearby hog operations that raised its animals.

    The case comes after two previous, related lawsuits rocked agribusiness in the country's No. 2 pork-producing state. Juries in those two cases awarded damages of about $75 million intended to punish Smithfield, though those were required to be cut under a state law that limits punitive damages.

    North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against nuisance lawsuits that all but eliminate the right of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness.

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