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Premium Standard Farms to appeal verdict


March 30, 2010
By Manure Manager

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March 18, 2010, Princeton,
MO – Premium Standard Farms, LLC issued the following statement in response to
the jury’s verdict in the case of Owens, et al v. ContiGroup Companies, Inc.,
et al.
March 18, 2010, Princeton,
MO – Premium Standard Farms, LLC issued the following statement in response to
the jury’s verdict in the case of Owens, et al v. ContiGroup Companies, Inc.,
et al:

We are obviously disappointed
in today’s verdict; however, we believe that there are substantial grounds for
reversal on appeal.

The court gave the jury
the impossible task of sorting through claims by fifteen different individuals
from seven different families in different locations with each claim raising a
set of distinctive issues. While the jury tried its best, it was inevitable
that this “gang trial” would result in a “gang verdict.” We will ask the
appellate court to require that each family’s claim against a specific farm be
litigated separately. That is the only way the parties can be assured of a fair
trial.

While we are disappointed
that the jury awarded compensatory damages, we are pleased that the jury found
no grounds for punitive damages. We believe that the verdict indicates
recognition on the part of the jury of the substantial efforts we have made
toward odor abatement.

In light of this decision
and in view of the continuing hostile environment toward live hog production,
we have serious concerns whether we will ever make any future investments in
the state of Missouri. It threatens the viability of the Missouri farm economy
when a farm that has been granted a permit to operate by the state and is in
compliance with the permit and state and federal regulations, can be held
liable for such damages. If it is indeed the law in Missouri that a permitted
farm in compliance with its permit can be subject to such damages, then to
preserve its agribusiness sector the legislature should move swiftly to correct
this aberration.


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