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Missouri State Court Returns $11 Million Verdict Against Premium Standard Farms
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Industrial hog producers Premium Standard Farms Inc., a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, and the privately held ContiGroup Cos. (formerly Continental Grain) have been ordered to pay damages of  $11 million to residents living near the defendants’ 4,300-acre factory hog farm in northern Missouri.

The verdict, returned yesterday by a state court jury in Jackson County, Missouri, is the biggest monetary award against a hog farm in an odor nuisance case.

The case, filed in 2002 by 15 plaintiffs from seven households, were represented by the Middleton Firm of Savannah, Ga., Seeger Weiss LLP of New York, and the Speer Law Firm of Kansas City, Mo.

  
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The plaintiffs alleged that relentless and extreme manure odors from the defendants’ farm and feeding operations prevented them from going outside on many days.

“The families who brought this case have been living under a toxic cloud of hog waste produced by Premium Standard for more than 11 years,” said lead trial counsel Richard Middleton Jr. in a statement.

The $11 million verdict comes after a 2006 $4.5 million verdict against Premium Standard Farms on behalf of six plaintiffs, who were also represented by Speer, Middleton and Weiss.

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