Jurors say pork giant Smithfield Foods is responsible for the nuisances North Carolina neighbors suffered from waste generated by thousands of hogs, but the panel awarded the lowest amount yet after four previous juries awarded penalties totaling nearly $550 million.
Friday’s verdict awarding $420,000 was the second time a jury heard about living conditions around the same Duplin County operation that raised about 5,000 of the company’s animals.
Lawyers for the neighbors hand-picked the 10 plaintiffs who have lived on their land for decades. Company lawyers previously picked two other neighbors of Joey Carter’s farm, and in July jurors awarded them $25 million in damages.
A federal judge has the two sides alternating who picks cases for juries to consider, anticipating a settlement could resolve the claims of more than 500 neighbors.