Smithfield, Plaintiffs Going to Appeal, Mediation

Smithfield Foods and its hog farm neighbors have asked to push back proceedings in upcoming lawsuits.

The pork giant has agreed with plaintiffs’ attorneys to ask the judge to certify the first three verdicts in nuisance suits over hog farm odors. The action would allow Smithfield to proceed with appealing the verdicts before the fourth circuit court, but it would also enter into concurrent mediation discussions in an effort to resolve the issues at the heart of the lawsuits.

In the letter to farmers dated Aug. 23, Smithfield said, “Having the issues heard by the Fourth Circuit, while at the same time dialoguing about ways to bring these suits to an end, is a constructive path forward.” The company reiterated its belief that North Carolina law had not been applied correctly in these verdicts.

Smithfield Foods was found guilty of nuisance in the first three cases, with damages awarded expected to total nearly $150 million dollars. More than 20 cases remain on the dockets.