Judgments would be limited and the number of times someone could bring a lawsuit would be limited as the legislature responds to farm interests worried that litigation could drive farmers off their land.
A critic of the nuisance lawsuit legislation, SS/SCS/HB 209, suggested a large, corporate hog farm could move next door, drive down property values and be protected in court.
Sponsor Casey Guernsey, a representative from Bethany, called that unrealistic, insisting that farmland values aren’t falling.
“I’m just telling you, the property values in rural areas…you can ask any farmer…is not falling,” Guernsey responded during House floor debate.
Still, that critic, St. Louis Representative Mike Colona, pressed the point.
“I believe that your comments are what we call incredible, not credible,” Colona told Guernsey. “Meaning, common sense would dictate if I have a piece of property that is not next to a smelly CAFO when I buy it as soon that smelly CAFO moves in, the value of my property will go down. And it almost looks like you’re just trying to protect those CAFOs from justly compensating those people whose property values have declined.”
The House sided with Guernsey who argues farmers must be protected from nuisance lawsuits. The bill has been sent to the governor.