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. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon