A couple who lives near Stockton Lake, MO has been awarded $1.1 million in a lawsuit settlement because of the stench from a nearby factory hog farm.
Ed and Ruth McEowen filed the nuisance lawsuit against the hog operators after barns were erected less than 1,000 feet from their home several years ago.
“Night was always the worst,” Ed McEowen said. “It’s like the monsters come out at night. The sickening stench just lays down here in the valley once the sun goes down. You could never invite anybody over because you never knew how bad the stench was going to be.”
The lawsuit, which was finalized last week in Cedar County Circuit Court, was filed against Doug Mullings, who owns the barns; the Missouri Farmers Association, which supplied the hogs; North View Swine Co.; Tri-County Swine; and an insurer, the Missouri Farm Bureau.
The lawsuit said Mullings built one of six barns without a construction permit, a violation of Missouri Department of Natural Resources regulations. The farm operated six years without an operating permit from DNR.
Hog waste also fouled a creek that runs through the McEowens’ property, the lawsuit said. The McEowens have lived on their 40-acre farm for 30 years and built the house and a workshop by hand, McEowen said.
The settlement involves only odors up to the date of the settlement. But the McEowens said they were ready to file another nuisance action if the hog operation continued to harm their quality of life.
“I’m sending them a message,” according to their attorney. “Most of our clients have been living in their homes for generations. The big hog companies try to say it’s people from the city moving out (to the country) that don’t get ag odors. It is anything but that.”
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