PRINCETON, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Premium Standard Farms, LLC issued the following statement today in response to the jury’s verdict in the case of Owens, et al v. ContiGroup Companies, Inc., et al:
We are obviously disappointed in today's verdict; however, we believe that there are substantial grounds for reversal on appeal.
The court gave the jury the impossible task of sorting through claims by fifteen different individuals from seven different families in different locations with each claim raising a set of distinctive issues. While the jury tried its best, it was inevitable that this “gang trial” would result in a “gang verdict.” We will ask the appellate court to require that each family’s claim against a specific farm be litigated separately. That is the only way the parties can be assured of a fair trial.
While we are disappointed that the jury awarded compensatory damages, we are pleased that the jury found no grounds for punitive damages. We believe that the verdict indicates recognition on the part of the jury of the substantial efforts we have made toward odor abatement.
In light of this decision and in view of the continuing hostile environment toward live hog production, we have serious concerns whether we will ever make any future investments in the state of Missouri. It threatens the viability of the Missouri farm economy when a farm that has been granted a permit to operate by the state and is in compliance with the permit and state and federal regulations, can be held liable for such damages. If it is indeed the law in Missouri that a permitted farm in compliance with its permit can be subject to such damages, then to preserve its agribusiness sector the legislature should move swiftly to correct this aberration.
About Premium Standard Farms
Founded in 1988, Premium Standard Farms operates farms and other related assets in several counties in North Central Missouri and in Dallam and Hartley counties in Texas. For more information, visit www.psfarms.com.