Two Very Concerning Factory Farm Bills Would
Limit Nuisance Lawsuits
Two bills that would limit CAFO nuisance lawsuit damages are quickly moving forward at the Iowa State House.
House File 468* and Senate File 447** would:
1. Limit damages to:
Medical costs associated with health harmed by CAFOs
Quality of life damages that are no more than 1.5 times the amount of property devaluation or medical costs.
2. Determine that the CAFO nuisance is a permanent nuisance. Future lawsuits could not be brought against a CAFO owner if there were repeated instances of nuisance.
3. Require plaintiffs – neighbors bringing a legitimate lawsuit against an infringing CAFO owner – to pay the CAFO owner's court costs and attorney fees if the plaintiffs were to lose their case in court.
Why These Bills Are So Very Concerning:
Factory farm lawsuits are stressful and time consuming. Neighbors typically don’t file one unless their lives are significantly harmed.
Punitive damages would no longer be allowed. Large cash settlements or verdicts can allow neighbors to move from their homes and begin anew, but limiting damages could make that unlikely for too many neighbors.
Creating a permanent nuisance provides no incentive for CAFO owners to fix problems once the lawsuit is over.
Requiring plaintiffs to pay court costs and legal fees if they lost their case would discourage neighbors from protecting themselves when their lives are harmed by factory farms.
Status of the Bills:
The House bill has passed through the Agricultural Committee on a 17-6 vote at the end of last week. It can be brought to the House floor at any time for a full vote.
The Senate bill passed through Agricultural Subcommittee last Thursday and will be brought up in the full Committee early this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Take five minute to call your state representative and state senator TODAY if you don’t want to see these bills pass. Contact your legislators using the State House switchboards (You’ll be connected to your legislators). Leave a message if you don’t get them and keep calling back if their mailbox is full.
Iowa Senate: 515-281-3371
Iowa House: 515-281-3221
Did you call earlier when the nuisance bills were in committee? Call again!
Don’t know who your legislators are? Find out here.
Thank you for all you do!
* Formerly House Study Bill 124
** Formerly Senate Study Bill 1144