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ARTICLE ID 41615

$________ Resident sued Tyson Food Markets for releasing hydrogen sulfide gas from open wastewater lagoons at processing plant into the surrounding community - Plaintiff alleged that the odors caused her damages and health-related problems including diminished sense of smell.

U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska

The female plaintiff alleged that she suffered health problems and a diminished sense of smell from hydrogen sulfide gas that was emitted from a tannery/slaughterhouse processing plant owned by the defendant. The defendant denied that there was any nuisance to the community.

The 81-year-old female plaintiff lived approximately two miles from the IBP Inc. slaughterhouse and tannery. This facility was purchased by the defendant Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. in ________. The plaintiff alleged that the wastewater from the tannery was processed through its existing wastewater treatment systems and channeled into uncovered, open air lagoons since the tannery was opened in ________. The plaintiff alleged that these uncovered lagoons directly released hydrogen sulfide gas into the surrounding community. The plaintiff contended that the stench from the wastewater lagoons was so strong and offensive that she  3 3 rarely received company and the gas caused her to develop health problems relating to her sinuses as a result of the exposure including a loss of her sense of smell.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that there was no actionable nuisance created by its facility in the community.

The trial continued for seven days. At the conclusion of six hours of deliberation, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages.

The plaintiff has appealed the jury’s award alleging that the District Court erred in denying the plaintiff from offering medical testimony regarding her injuries, in granting a directed verdict on the plaintiff’s negligence cause of action based upon an alleged statute of limitations bar to same, and in instructing the jury not to consider the plaintiff’s loss of sense of smell in determining the extent of the damages awarded.

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