A new year, a new pig odor lawsuit.
Another in a long line of pig odor lawsuits filed against corporate hog farms in Missouri has ended in a jury verdict favoring the plaintiffs.
For soiling (and stinking up) their property, the hog farmers must now pay its neighbors $1.95 million.
Sound weird? Well, it is, unless you live in Missouri.
This particular pig odor lawsuit was filed against Synergy, which owns the hogs, and Kenoma, which raises them, reports the Associated Press. Their Barton County farm raises about 200,000 hogs per year, which equates to a lot of stank. And waste.
Twelve neighbors sued, claiming that the resulting odor and flies ruined their property values and way of life.
To prove their point, they took the jury on a fieldtrip, demonstrating just how close they lived to the farm, and just how bad it smelled, notes the Riverfront Times.
Because Missouri has fewer restrictions on hog farms, there have been a large number of hog farmers moving to the area, which in turn has amped up the number of pig odor lawsuits.
As in this case, a pig odor lawsuit is traditionally based on the tort of private nuisance.
To win on a claim of private nuisance, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's conduct is substantially impairing his ability to use or enjoy his property. It's hard to imagine that pig stank and flies don't fall into this category.
Lest you don't believe that the pig odor lawsuit is a big deal in Missouri, consider the fact that the legislature passed two bills in the last few months supporting hog farmers. One limited punitive odor damages and the other ended county-imposed restrictions.