Pork giant makes case that penned hogs are good neighbors
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The world's largest pork producer is putting its best case before jurors to debunk claims its waste emits stenches so foul and attracts so many flies that life for rural neighbors is miserable.
Smithfield Foods' lawyers hand-picked the two plaintiffs and the neighboring 4,700-hog operation in the second in a series of nuisance lawsuits that opened Wednesday. Plaintiffs' lawyers picked the first case and won a nearly $51 million jury verdict last month.
That was cut to about $3 million because a state law limits punishment for corporate misdeeds. Neighbors say for decades they've put up with livestock sewage sprayed over crops that also drifts and coats their homes and cars.
Smithfield Foods lawyers say jurors should forget the company's size and focus on how one grower treats his neighbors.
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