Legislature and State Government and Legislation and Environment and Agriculture/Farming and Government & Economic Development and Government

Lawmakers back penalties over farm lawsuits

February 22, 2012
statehouse

An Indiana Senate committee has endorsed a bill that would require penalties against anyone whom a judge decides has filed a frivolous lawsuit against a livestock farm.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 Wednesday in favor of the bill that would change current law giving judges discretion on whether to order the person filing a frivolous lawsuit to pay the farm's court costs and attorney fees.

Supporters of that change say judges are often reluctant to order such penalties against those filing nuisance lawsuits.

Environmentalists argue that such a change will have a "chilling effect" on those with legitimate complaints against sprawling, factory-style livestock farms. They say that Indiana already has a strong law protecting the property rights of farmers.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

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