The Sac County, IA, odor nuisance lawsuit against Iowa Select Farms has been settled without any payment for punitive damages, the Iowa Falls-based company has announced.
“Punitive damages are appropriate only if there is a history of intentional bad faith action. That was obviously not the case here, and this settlement is a testament to that fact,” says Iowa Select Farms CEO Jeff Hansen.
A settlement with eight Sac County residents who filed the lawsuit was made as a final court ruling was pending on the company's post-trial motions. In its motions, Iowa Select Farms had requested a new trial based on its contention that the issue of punitive damages should never have been submitted to the jury in the first place.
In October 2002 an eight-person jury awarded the plaintiffs $1 million for actual damages claimed by the plaintiffs, and $32 million in punitive damages to punish the company for building the farms.
Both parties agreed not to discuss the final settlement beyond the elimination of the punitive damages.
The plaintiffs didn't dispute that the company had followed all environmental rules in locating, building and operating the farms in question. The company has never had any environmental violations at the farms.