Judge Rules Not to Punish Smithfield Foods for Hog Complex

Three related cases previously ruled that Smithfield Foods should pay nearly $550 million.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina is shutting down a lawsuit against a Smithfield Foods hog feeding operation by some neighbors who complained of odors, flies and noises. U.S. District Judge David Faber on Thursday declared there wasn't enough evidence for those neighbors to pursue punitive damages.

Jurors in Raleigh determined Wednesday that eight neighbors of a Smithfield Foods animal feeding operation in Sampson County should be compensated with between $100 and $75,000 each. The neighbors had complained about Sholar Farm, which houses up to 7,000 swine.

Jurors in three related cases previously decided Smithfield Foods should pay nearly $550 million in penalties, which were reduced under a state law limiting punishment. Smithfield Foods said it believes the lawsuits are an abuse of the legal system.