Murphy-Brown, the hog production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, will appeal Thursday’s court verdict against one of its contract pork producers.
A federal jury found in favor of 10 neighbors of an eastern North Carolina hog farm, awarding them $750,000 in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages over complaints of odor and noise from the farm. (North Carolina law caps punitive damage awards at $25 million, so each plaintiff would receive $250,000 in punitive damages and $75,000 in compensatory ones.)
In a statement issued after the verdict, Smithfield Foods said it would appeal the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Va. NPPC, which closely monitored the case, called the nuisance lawsuit “frivolous” and an “unwarranted attack on livestock agriculture,” pointing out that pork producers have “a strong and long-standing track record of environmental stewardship.”
The case was the first of several nuisance lawsuits brought by North Carolina residents against hog operations in the state.