A federal appeals court has upheld a 2018 jury verdict that led to monetary damages for the neighbors of a North Carolina hog operation because of smells and noise. The plaintiffs said that made their living close to the hog operation unbearable.
However, judges ruled that the jurors’ multimillion-dollar punitive damage awards were unfairly weighed against its corporate assets and must get reconsidered. The decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia came just hours before Smithfield Foods announced it put an end to this and other nuisance cases filed by other North Carolina residents. Those cases either were already on appeal by the company or hadn’t yet gone to trial.
“We resolved these cases through a settlement that will take into account the divided decision of the court,” says Keira Lombardo, Chief Administrative Officer at Smithfield Foods. The company wouldn’t share the financial terms of the settlements. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs and those in other cases neither confirmed nor mentioned a settlement in the case as of late Thursday. The Houston Chronicle says a statement from the lawyers involved in the appeal praised the court’s decision to affirm the verdict.