Court of Appeals Tosses Out Hog Farm Lawsuit on Technicality

Court of Appeals Tosses Out Hog Farm Lawsuit on Technicality Photo: KSTP

April 17, 2017 09:28 PM

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has tossed out a lawsuit filed by a Dodge County resident against the county and Masching Swine Farms LLC, ruling the original complaint was not served in the proper time.

Lowell Trom filed his complaint after a hog farm operation fit for 2,400 hogs was approved near his own farm in Blooming Prairie.


RELATED: Proposed Nuisance Legislation Raises Concerns For Residents Near Swine Farms

He said it was the 11th in a three-mile radius, raising health and environmental concerns.

A district court upheld the issuance of the permit. But ruling the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, the court of appeals vacated that decision.

However, because the court said the lawsuit was not served on the chair of the Dodge County board of commissioners or the county auditor by the deadline set in the enabling ordinance, it was unable to reach the merits of the appeal.

James Peters, an attorney for Trom, said his client is still weighing the possibility of petitioning the Minnesota Supreme Court to hear the case.

Such complaints are the focus of proposed legislation that could prevent residents like Trom from filing them to begin with.

The law would expand nuisance liability protection to all livestock operations. Right now, those protections are limited to facilities with less than 1,000 animal units. That equates to anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 hogs -- depending on their weight.

The proposed nuisance liability protections were amended to the omnibus agriculture policy bill that passed the House recently.

The future of the law now lies with the Senate's version of the bill.


Frank Rajkowski

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