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Lawmakers back penalties over farm lawsuits

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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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  • Intimidation Tactic
    This law is not intended to protect the family farmer, but to intimidate of large, factory farming operations who suffer from unnecessary stench, health problems, air and water pollution. Indiana already has laws in place protecting against frivolous litigation.
  • What a surpise
    This is the latest stab at "tort reform" by those in support of corporate interests over
    legitimate interests of neighbors, or anyone with a concern about water quality or safety downstream from these operations. Reducing options for relief from legitimate injury is
    now a strategy by agribusiness to bully their
    way into places they aren't wanted.

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