Hog Farm Overrun by Waste – $11 Million Verdict
Seeger Weiss wins another victory against corporate agriculture, when a Jackson County, Missouri jury awarded $11 million to small, family farms overrun by waste this week. Read our press release for more information.
This case has garnered significant media attention, from major news outlets, to local papers, to legal blogs.
Associated Press (via Washington Post):
“If we sit down and talk, we can include more than money,” [plaintiff co-counsel Charlie Speer] told The Associated Press on Thursday. “It’s common sense. Nobody wants to live across the street from 80,000 hogs.”
“You can’t simply come into these environs, decimate the land, and expect not to be held accountable,” said plaintiffs counsel Stephen Weiss of Seeger Weiss. “We don’t want to put them out of business. We just want them to reform how they do business.” Weiss told us residents and Premium Standard began negotiating a global settlement after the company won a defense verdict in a 2007 trial, but those talks ended when a memo from the company was leaked to the Kansas City Star. “That chilled the discussions for reasons I don’t understand,” Weiss told us. “[Premium Standard’s parent company] chose to walk away from any global settlement.”
“These corporations have chosen to invade traditional family farming communities and construct industrial operations that simply fail to respect the community and the land,” said Stephen A. Weiss, a New York attorney who represented the families.
Kansas City Star:
Several are fifth-generation farming families. They testified that the odors and swarms of flies sometimes drove them indoors. The situation made it hard to invite people over for barbecues or picnics, they said. One woman who sold Mary Kay cosmetics said she couldn’t have parties at her house. The daughter of one couple testified she couldn’t play outside as a child when the odors rolled in.
“The families who brought this case have been living under a toxic cloud of hog waste produced by Premium Standard for more than 11 years,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Richard H. Middleton said.
Mostly what the families want is odor abatement. Their attorney said, “If we sit down and talk, we can include more than money….It’s common sense. Nobody wants to live across the street from 80,000 hogs.”
A Missouri jury has awarded $11 million to 15 people who complained of foul odors emanating from a nearby hog farm.
“The families who brought this case have been living under a toxic cloud of hog waste produced by Premium Standard for more than 11 years,” said lead trial counsel Richard Middleton Jr. in a statement.
The Premium Standard operation in Gentry County, Missouri, emitted odors so foul, they “defied description,” according to Stephen A. Weiss, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.