Just weeks after a jury ordered Premium Standard Farms (PSF) to pay a dozen Missouri residents $2 million because of odor complaints, a second jury reversed a farmer’s claims in a similar case.
Daviess County resident Vernon Hanes had sought $3 million, saying hog odors from PSF damaged the use and enjoyment of his property in northwest Missouri.
But a jury in DeKalb County, where the case was moved, voted 9-3 in favor of PSF.
The verdict followed a May decision by a southwest Missouri jury to award $2 million to about a dozen plantiffs who claimed hog odors by Iowa-based Synergy had ruined their way of life.
That ruling came about a month after Gov. Jay Nixon signed a law limiting payouts to people in certain lawsuits against livestock farms to prevent neighbors from filing repeated nuisance lawsuits for the same problems on the same farms.
The legislation limits compensatory damages to the amount of rent owners of neighboring properties would lose because of a “temporary nuisance” created by a farm, or the amount the property’s fair market value would drop if a “permanent nuisance” existed.
PSF has threatened to leave the state if the flurry of lawsuits continues. PSF lawyer Jean Paul Bradshaw says the DeKalb County ruling is a victory for the company, which still has about a dozen other lawsuits pending against it.
Bradshaw says PSF has taken steps to cut down on odor at its sites. The Princeton, MO-based company has about 97,000 sows that will produce about 1.8 million market hogs throughout its sites in six Missouri counties.