Seven residents from Sampson and Bladen counties have filed lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods in U.S. District Court last week.
The lawsuit alleges that farms managed by Murphy-Brown create nuisances, such as odors from open waste lagoons, according to published reports.
Mark Anderson, an attorney for Murphy-Brown, told The Fayetteville Observer in an interview, “Over the past year, there have been a number of procedural issues that have occurred such that, at this point, the cases have not been moved to the stage where the facts are actually brought forward. Murphy-Brown looks forward to the opportunity to defend its local contract growers.”
Messages left for Anderson were unreturned as of press time.
According to court documents, there are now 215 plaintiffs from Bladen, Duplin, Pender and Sampson counties who have all filed lawsuits against the company. According to reports, all of the complainants reside near farms or facilities under contract to Murphy-Brown.
According to The Fayetteville Observer, the plaintiffs allege to have suffered injury and harm as “a direct result of the hogs near their homes.” According to the report, odors from hog feces and urine were spreading to properties owned by the plaintiffs from uncovered hog lagoons, and flies and insects have also become prevalent at the properties.
According to reports, the seven lawsuits ask for compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre-judgment and post-judgment interests and injunctive and equitable relief. They also request that a jury hear the case.
According to court documents, the plaintiff’s claim that the nuisances from the hog farms have caused them to be unable to enjoy their properties.
Two of the plaintiffs are from Bladen County. According to The Fayetteville Observer, Daphne McKoy said her school-aged children were impacted by the odor and flies while waiting for the bus. In her complaint, according to The Observer article, McKoy said her children suffer embarrassment from having to explain to their classmates on the bus that the odor is from the hog farm and not their home.
A second plaintiff from Bladen County, Tanechia Lloyd, told The Fayetteville Observer that she has concerns about the hogs impacting her well’s water supply. According to reports, Lloyd said her well water started to give off an odor and have a foul taste to the point she had to drill a new well.
A message left for Dennis Pittman, spokesman for Smithfield Foods, seeking comment was unreturned as of press time.