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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. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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