A Missing Fact


In the first Smithfield nuisance trial no one ever mentioned one fact: How, four years ago, the lawyers leading the lawsuits against Smithfield Foods filed a copy of their contracts with their clients in a state court and how those contracts showed the lawyers would be paid 40% of the verdict, plus their expenses.So, if the original verdict of over $50 million hadn’t been reduced by the judge, the plaintiffs’ lawyers would have received over $20 million.Why does that fact matter?During the first trial whenever someone, a witness, testified odor from the Kinlaw Farm was not a life-destroying nuisance to him, the plaintiffs’ lawyer would indicate his ten clients and ask, Who knows best whether odor was a nuisance to them – you or them?And every witness answered, I can only speak for myself. Not one witness answered: Your clients lived beside the Kinlaw farm for 14 years and didn’t complain once – until a lawyer knocked on their door and said, ‘We’ll sue the hog farmer. You sign here and join us. And if we win, you could make money.’ So I have to wonder whether these complaints are about making money?The jurors never heard about those lawyers signing up clients. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe the jurors would still have seen the plaintiffs as victims. But shouldn’t the jury have heard both sides?Note: the original lawyers that knocked on the doors were replaced with out-of-state lawyers.