February 2016

JBS Live Pork Wins Defense Verdict

United States - Iowa

Our firm served as lead trial counsel for the defendant JBS Live Pork, f/k/a Cargill Live Pork, and obtained a defense verdict as to nine bellwether plaintiffs in four households in a nuisance and negligence case against a contract swine production facility operated by the co-defendant Richard Warren. The case was one of a series of cases initiated in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri involving facilities producing swine under contract for JBS/Cargill. The original Wapello County case involved 43 households and three distinct swine operations, including the Warren operation. The cases were severed by operation and a bellwether structure was adopted as to each operation, with each side picking two representative households for trial. In the Pauls/Warren matter, following a three-week trial, the jury returned verdicts of no nuisance as to all four households. Post-trial, the Court granted JBS’s motion for litigation expenses as to two of the four households pursuant to Iowa Code section 657.11(5), finding that the claims were frivolous. Following the Pauls/Warren trial, the plaintiffs’ counsel dismissed the second bellwether trial group and the Iowa Supreme Court granted interlocutory review as to the constitutionality of Iowa Code section 657.11(2) on the eve of the third bellwether trial. The remaining plaintiffs who had asserted claims against the Warren operation dismissed their claims. The post-trial order is available at 2016 WL 11041047. Doug Pauls, et al., v. Richard Warren, et al., No. LALA 105144 (Iowa 2016).

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