Nebraska Farmers SLAPPed for Public Comments on the Environment

In 2000, hog producer Furnas County Farms in Nebraska sued two local farmers for defamation arising from written comments the farmers had filed about Furnas’ environmental record with state regulators. The farmers countersued under the Nebraska anti-SLAPP law, and in 2005, a jury rejected Furnas’ defamation claims and ordered it to pay $900,000 in damages plus legal fees.

The appeals court agreed that the defamation claim lacked merit, but overturned the fee award, saying a judge, not a jury, needed to determine whether the lawsuit had any basis. The case finally settled eight years after it was filed, in November 2008.

See Sand Livestock Sys. v. Svoboda, 756 N.W.2d 299 (2008).

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