Posted by Ron Richards
A recent article that was written by Gary D. Robertson states a federal appeals court upheld 2018 jury verdict that awarding money to neighbors of a North Carolina industrial hog that made unbearable to live in peace because of noise and smell. The judges’ ruled that the jurors’ multimillion-dollar verdict in the case against Smithfield, the largest port producer, was unfair.
The decision from the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia stated that they have put an end to this case and a similar nuisance case filed by other North Carolina residents against Smithfield Corp. In a statement Smithfield Chief administrative officer Keira Lombardo stated that, “We have resolved these cases through settlement that will take into account the divided decision of the court.”
The jurors found Smithfield interfered with the life of the residents’ enjoyment of their property. Ten neighbors received a total of $750,000 in compensation, plus $50 million in damages designed to punish Smithfield. The district judge Earl Britt cut punitive damages to 2.5 million. The jurors alleged from all the evidence presented to the court that Smithfield refused to spend money on technology that could improve these problems.
I think Smithfield cooperation should pay whatever the residents asked for because for years they had to put up with the noise and smell from the waste of the hogs. For years, the 400 hundred residents complained to Smithfield of improvement the quality and safety of life for its neighbor, but they never tried to improve technology to help with the environment.
I think the residents deserved to be paid the entire punitive damages awarded to make Smithfield understand that they need to change the way they treat the environment and its neighbors with respect.
Ron Richards is a Finance major Senior 2021 at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University.