Robert Thackston

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, […]