30,000 gallons of hog waste from Murphy-Brown Farm enters creek in Bladen County

BY: - January 29, 2023

The NC Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the discharge of an estimated 30,000 gallons of hog waste from a farm owned by Murphy-Brown, according to a press release from state officials. The farm is in Bladen County, northwest of Ammon and southwest of Roseboro. It has a state permit to raise as many as […]

Johnston County Board of Education votes to keep mask mandate in place

BY: - September 20, 2021

The Johnston County Board of Education voted 4-3 Monday to continue to require students and staff to wear face masks. The vote follows last week’s board meeting where dozens of parents rallied outside of the Johnson County Public Schools’ administrative building in Smithfield to demand the board lift the mandate. New state law requires school […]

In damning opinion, federal appeals court rules against Murphy-Brown in hog nuisance suits

BY: - November 19, 2020

Punitive damages will be recalculated, but court sides with plaintiffs on all other arguments  This is a developing story. Update 6:25 p.m.: Smithfield issued a statement saying they have “resolved these cases through a settlement that will take into account the divided decision of the court. Information about the terms of the settlement will not […]

A federal appeals court judge’s remarkable speech is the latest surprise in NC’s hog nuisance lawsuits

BY: - February 3, 2020

Last Friday morning in Richmond, Va., midway through oral arguments in the hog nuisance case of McKiver v. Murphy-Brown, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III removed his glasses and briefly rested his cheek on his hand, as if burdened by the content of thousands of pages of case documents he had read.

“What troubled me...

Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of NC laws protecting hog industry from nuisance actions

BY: - June 21, 2019

State lawmakers allegedly violated the North Carolina constitution when they passed legislation that stripped residents of their right to sue industrialized hog operations for nuisance, according to a legal complaint filed this week. 

High-powered trial lawyers joust as latest hog trial commences

BY: - November 16, 2018

Robert Thackston, who is tall, bald, with a trunk as straight as a redwood’s, removed his midnight-blue suit jacket to reveal a white twill shirt so crisp it threatened to shatter. On the seventh floor, in Room No. 2 of the federal courthouse in Raleigh, the Texas lawyer sat at the head of a scurry of attorneys hired by Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer. He rocked in his chair and flipped through his thicket of notes, as if perusing a wine list.

Smithfield loses its third hog nuisance case, jury awards plaintiffs $473 million in damages

BY: - August 3, 2018

See today’s story on NC Policy Watch about yesterday’s closing arguments in this case. A federal jury took just three hours to award six plaintiffs a total of $473 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer. The jury, which was nearly all white and majority female, awarded each of […]


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 […]

Shielding Murphy-Brown from nuisance lawsuits sparks a fracas in the streets, a battle in the courts and a struggle in the legislature

BY: - June 26, 2018

The band was in the middle of its set of oldies and country tunes when a bystander in the crowd of 500 people muttered, “Uh-oh. This could be trouble.” Several husky men had gathered in front of the bandstand on the Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh yesterday afternoon, where farmers, their families, state officials including Agriculture […]

BREAKING: Federal hog nuisance trial halted

BY: - June 13, 2018

[This is a developing story. It will be updated as information becomes available.] Update: The trial has resumed with all 12 jurors The federal hog nuisance trial against Murphy-Brown and Smithfield Foods has been stopped, at least temporarily, because a juror allegedly brought in printed material about the N.C. Farm Act debate. According to a […]


Analysis: Besides the money, why the plaintiffs’ win over the hog industry is so historic

BY: - April 27, 2018

For an industry used to getting its way, the jury’s verdict was a stunning rebuke. On Thursday in federal court, the jury awarded 10 plaintiffs who live adjacent to an industrialized hog farm $75,000 each in compensatory damages, plus another $5 million apiece for punitive damages. The total: Upward of $50 million, an historic amount, […]

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 […]