EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA - More than 100 plaintiffs in seven cases have filed a lawsuit against a company that owns and operates several hog farms in eastern and southeastern North Carolina. Many of the plaintiffs live in Duplin County.
The lawsuit, against Murphy Brown LLC, says the facilities it owns and operates are a nuisance and have a negative affects on residents health and quality of life. The hog farms are in rural parts of eastern carolina in counties. Lawyers for Murphy Brown LLC, McGuire Woods law firm out of Raleigh, say their client conducts all operations within the law and released the following statement:
"We anticipate the opportunity to shed light on the unwarranted attacks on Murphy Brown and its affiliated family farmers. Murphy Brown LLC and their contract farmers continue to be outstanding environmental stewards, meeting - and surpassing - strict regulatory standards while protecting the best interests of their neighbors. We are confident that the court will recognize the underlying financial motivations behind these lawsuits."
But the 148 plaintiffs say their facilities are the reason for diminishing health and quality of life issues in the areas where they live. Jim Comer works with Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, also know as the Alliance for a Responsible Swine Industry. He supports the lawsuit which is mainly being filed under North Carolina nuisance laws. Water quality issues and even a tangible mist from toxic waste is emitted into the environment from these facilities according to the lawsuit.
"We're concerned that as time goes on there is more and more latitude being given to the corporations allowing them to increase the negative effects they're having on the environment," said Comer. It's affecting their health, it's affecting their emotional abilities, it's affecting their social lives, their family lives," said Comer.
Industry representatives maintain their innocence but Comer is hopeful this lawsuit will bring about change.
Newschannel12 spoke with the law firm out of Salisbury representing the plaintiffs, Wallace and Graham. Mona Lisa Wallace, a founding partner in the firm, say they are looking forward to moving forward with the litigation. Federal procedure allows the defendant 21 days to respond. The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court on August 21st.
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