Michael Kaeske

The case against Murphy-Brown: Inside North Carolina’s latest blockbuster hog trial

BY: - December 13, 2018

Shortly after 10 o’clock yesterday morning, a federal jury in the hog nuisance case Gillis vs. Murphy-Brown delivered the news: Hung. After a fortnight of patiently listening to plaintiffs’ and defendants’ testimony, and two days of deliberation, the panel of eight women and two men declared they were deadlocked...

Hog trial drama: Defense attorney invokes Clint Eastwood, implies plaintiffs are liars in closing argument

BY: - December 7, 2018

Midway through Robert Thaxton’s closing arguments in the recent hog nuisance trial, the attorney for Smithfield Foods displayed a photo of a movie poster for Pale Rider, a 1985 Western starring Clint Eastwood. In the film, a mysterious justice-seeking preacher played by Eastwood tries...

Prepare for a Texas duel as Smithfield hires new, and yes, out-of-state lawyer for upcoming hog nuisance trial

BY: - October 23, 2018

Over the summer, as Murphy-Brown lost three historic nuisance lawsuits in which juries penalized them more than a half-billion dollars, the hog industry and its surrogates changed tactics. If they could not win before a judge and jury, they would do so in the legislature and in the court of public opinion. At choreographed rallies, […]


Rep. Jimmy Dixon breaks the crass-o-meter: Farm families “raped” by Texas lawyers

BY: - July 3, 2018

  Rep. Jimmy Dixon of Duplin County is notorious for eructing coarse pronouncements and unfounded accusations in public. For example, during one committee meeting , the Duplin County Republican recommended Gov. Cooper get a “spanking” and in another, claimed the Cape Fear public utility was politicizing levels of GenX in Wilmington’s drinking water. But his […]

Murphy-Brown destroyed samples, and other tidbits from Week 1 of the hog nuisance trial in federal court

BY: - April 9, 2018

[This is one of several stories and blog posts that will cover the hog nuisance trial in federal court in Raleigh. Check the Progressive Pulse blog for updates and analysis. Neighbors of the farm begin testifying this week. The trial is expected to last through the April. The life-size ceramic dirty pink pig that stood in […]