February 2018

JBS Live Pork Obtains Appeal Victory

North America - United States | North America | United States - Iowa

Our firm was lead trial court and appellate counsel for the appellant JBS Live Pork LLC. The Honomichl/Valley View case was to be the third bellwether trial in the series of cases, with trial set for three weeks in August 2016. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ nuisance claims pursuant to Iowa Code section 657.11(2). Meanwhile, the plaintiffs sought partial summary judgment to strike the defendants’ statutory immunity defense. The district court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and granted the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment. In doing so, the district court found section 657.11(2) was unconstitutional as applied to the plaintiffs under Article I, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution because it denies the plaintiffs access to a remedy for their alleged injuries. The defendants filed an application for interlocutory appeal and stay, arguing the district court erred in granting the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment by finding that section 657.11(2) was unconstitutional as applied to the plaintiffs. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the district court ruling granting the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment, finding that the district court had failed to make specific findings of fact relative to any plaintiff. Without this fact-based analysis, the court held that it could not evaluate the application of section 657.11(2) as to the plaintiffs. Therefore, the district court decision was reversed and the case was remanded. Morgan Honomichl, et al., v. Valley View Swine, LLC, et al., No. 16-1006, N.W.2d 223 (Iowa 2018).

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