House lawmakers approved HB 467, Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies, on third reading Monday night, in a 68-47 vote. During debate, the bill was amended in a 59-56 vote to apply only to future legal actions. North Carolina Farm Bureau strongly supports the bill.
HB 467 clarifies North Carolina law regarding available damages in nuisance lawsuits against farms, and stems from a federal judge’s ruling in 2015 that state law is unclear about damages that may be awarded in temporary nuisance actions against farms. The bill would limit damages to the reduced market value of the plaintiff’s property for permanent nuisances (such as an airport) or the loss of fair rental value for temporary nuisances (such as a farm), but never more than the full market value of the property. The bill provides these same protections for third parties who may be sued based on their contractual relationship with a farm. HB 467 provides a clear rule for applying damages in farm nuisance cases. It compensates people for the fair value of their property, but not for subjective claims for annoyance, discomfort or fear of future harm. In addition, the bill does not prevent lawsuits against farms that operate negligently or break the law, but discourages lawsuits that seek damages far beyond the full market value of a property.
Please contact your senator and ask them to support HB 467.
Lawmakers wrapped up their week on Tuesday to begin an Easter break. They’ll reconvene Wednesday, April 19.