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Right to Farm Act bars CAFO nuisance claim, appeals court rules

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A Gibson County farmer may not bring a nuisance claim against a neighboring dairy that dramatically expanded its operations to what he called a “factory-like ‘mega-farm,’” the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The panel unanimously affirmed Gibson Circuit Judge Earl G. Penrod’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in Glenn Parker, As Trustee Under the Revocable Declaration of Trust Agreement of Glenn Parker, Individually and Phyllis C. Parker, Individually v. Obert's Legacy Dairy, LLC, 26A05-1209-PL-450.  

The case pitted family interests that have owned neighboring farms in Fort Branch for generations, the Parkers farming there since the 1930s and the Oberts since the 1830s. In 2010, the Oberts began a permitted 750-cow confined animal feeding operation granted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management that was closer to the Parkers’ residence.

The trial court granted summary judgment on the Parkers’ nuisance argument that the CAFO produced offensive odors and devalued their property. The dairy claimed Indiana’s Right to Farm Act, I.C. 32-30-6-9, bars such actions on existing farms, and the trial court agreed.

The Parkers were unable to convince the appellate judges that the conversion of former cropland to a CAFO represented “a significant change in the type of operation” that would permit a nuisance claim.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court in a 12-page order. “It is clear that the Act insulates the Oberts’ expansion of their dairy farm from nuisance suits under these circumstances. In sum, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Dairy,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the court.
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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