A federal jury reached a verdict worth $50 million in the first of 26 lawsuits against North Carolina pork producer Murphy Brown. An Indy Week Dot Com reports says the jury took less than 24 hours to reach the verdict against Murphy Brown, a subsidiary of Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods. The plaintiffs contended that the company’s waste-management plan makes their lives miserable.
The plan consists of storing excess hog waste in open-air cesspools, as well as liquefying and spraying the remains on nearby fields. The plaintiffs say the odors and mist from the spray drift onto their properties, that the hogs attract swarms of insects and buzzards, boxes with dead hogs smell especially bad, and the stench limits their ability to go outside. The trial involved ten plaintiffs who live near Kinlaw Farm in Bladen County, North Carolina, who contracts with Smithfield to raise 15,000 hogs. Smithfield Foods says in a news release that they will file an immediate appeal of the verdict.