Latest hog farm lawsuit ends with a sad joke


At least a slap on the wrist hurts a little bit:

On Wednesday, the end to a month-long trial came after jurors returned verdicts in favor of all eight plaintiffs, who live near a Sampson County hog farm, and imposed compensatory damages of a little more than $100,000 in all. Neighbors said Smithfield Foods hog operations were damaging to their daily life, complaining of powerful odors, clouds of flies, midnight noises and screeching trucks. Plaintiffs argued they could not enjoy their property enough to host a family barbecue, let kids play outside or tend a garden.

This week’s verdict was the fourth loss for the North Carolina hog industry. The jury awarded $100 compensatory damages to four plaintiffs, $1,000 to two plaintiffs, $25,000 to one and $75,000 to another — an elderly woman who lived closest to the hog farm and grew up there.

A hundred dollars in compensation? What is this, 1818? How many days of work did those four people miss in this month-long trial? I have more questions, but it's doubtful I'd get a straight answer from idiots like Jimmy Dixon:

Jurors were expected to begin deliberating the punitive damages phase of the trial on Thursday or Friday, after hearing testimony, but on Thursday a federal judge brought the trial to an abrupt halt by ruling that the plaintiffs presented insufficient evidence to impose punitive damages.

“The American people, the consumers, have won this case,” N.C. Representative Jimmy Dixon said of the judge’s ruling. “If this were to be the standard going forward these lawyers would drop all of these cases and head back to Texas.”

According to Dixon, agriculture is already a very regulated industry and livestock particularly so. The industry is ready to embrace any innovations that are cost effective and work and in a lot of cases have.

“My position is that yes we should look at all innovative ideas,” Dixon said. “The measure for adoption is: is it economically feasible and does it work? If everyone was willing to pay $25 for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich there’s all kinds of things that we can do.”

Okay, first of all, it is incredibly disingenuous for Dixon to whine about out-of-state lawyers, when this fourth case was heard by a West Virginia judge, who replaced the previous judge who was from North Carolina. Smithfield was giddy about said replacement, and now we see why.

Secondly, that comment about a $25 BLT sandwich is such an exaggeration Donald Trump would have second thoughts about making it. For obvious reasons, Smithfield discontinued reporting its profits to the general public. But in 2016, it had a net (profit) income of $447 Million on some $14 Billion in revenue. Cleaning up their act and improving the lives of their neighbors would only take a fraction of those profits, and might actually generate some income if they developed methane capture technologies.

Either Jimmy Dixon knows all this and is being intentionally deceptive, or he is a bonafide moron who shouldn't be allowed to operate complex machinery. Like a pencil sharpener.