COURT RULES JUDGE ERRED IN HOG CASE
A DeKalb County judge erred when he ordered the owners of a large hog farm not to restock the farm until they developed an acceptable plan to control the odor, according to a ruling last week issued by the Alabama Supreme Court.
In a 5-2 decision, the Supreme Court said Circuit Judge David Rains should not have issued the order after a jury found the farm did not constitute a nuisance.
The farm in Ider, run by Jeffrey and Marty Wooten and Gold Kist Inc., was sued by neighbors in 1999. A jury that heard the case determined the farm and its 8,000 hogs were not a nuisance. However, after the verdict, Rains decided 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 has not passed the bill.