When lawyers went door to door signing up clients so they could sue Smithfield Foods two of Joey Carter’s neighbors signed up.
At the trial four other neighbors of Joey Carter testified for him. One told the jury: “It’s not what they say. There is not an odor, and I live so close to the farm I can hear the feeders run out in the hog house.” Another said: “We live next door. My wife and kids, we walk on the farm and near it. There’s no issue, no concern, no odor.” A third testified what was being said about Joey Carter’s farm did not make sense. And a fourth testified: “I hate to feel like an innocent man is going down.”
A fifth witness, the local postwoman, told the jury, “I can’t tell you the last time I’ve smelled odor from the farm.” Day in and day out, that postwoman had delivered mail to Joey Carter’s farm and she couldn’t recall the last time she smelled odor.
In addition, a respected scientist who’d done studies at Joey Carter’s farm had found no objectionable odor.
So how did Joey Carter’s farm end up on the losing end of the lawsuit?
First, the jury never heard the respected scientist’s testimony about odor. The lawyer suing Smithfield Foods filed a motion to block her testimony and the judge agreed.
Second, the jury never heard about lawyers promising the two neighbors who sued Joey Carter that they’d make money if they won the lawsuit. The lawyer who filed the lawsuit made a motion to block that testimony as well and the judge agreed.
Third, the jurors were never allowed to visit Joey Carter’s farm because the judge blocked that too.
And, finally, at the trial the jurors were told the lawsuit wasn’t against Joey Carter – it was against Smithfield Foods. That statement was technically true. But the hard fact is the jury’s verdict – it awarded the two people who sued $25 million – put Joey Carter out of business.
You have to wonder: How could these things happen in an American courtroom? They shouldn’t. But that’s why Americans have the right to appeal unfair verdicts to higher courts. And that’s where the road to justice leads for Joey Carter: Straight to the Court of Appeals.
This is the sixth part to a six part series.