Alabama
10:39 am
Sat September 20, 2003

Court says judge erred in hog farm case

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Supreme Court said a DeKalb County judge erred when he ordered the owners of a large hog farm
NOT to restock the farm until they were able to control the odor.

In a five-to-two decision, the Supreme Court said Circuit Judge David Rains shouldn't have issued the order after a jury found the farm did NOT constitute a nuisance.

A hog farm in Ider, run by Jeffrey and Marty Wooten and Gold Kist, was sued by neighbors in 1999. The jury that heard the case determined the farm and its eight-thousand hogs were NOT a nuisance.

After the verdict, Rains decided that the verdict applied only to the issue of damages in the case and that he could determine if relief was warranted for the neighbors. Then he issued his order against restocking the farm.

The case has been at the forefront of an effort by the Alabama Farmers Federation to pass legislation limiting lawsuits against farmers by people who are upset by animal odors. So far, the Legislature hasn't passed the bill.