Multi-Million Dollar Settlement for Neighbors of Buckeye Egg Factory

But no punishment for leaving hens to die of starvation and thirst

In September 2001, a jury awarded more than $19.7 million in damages to neighbors of the notoriously cruel and environmentally hazardous Buckeye Egg Factory Farm (see AWI Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 1).

Owner Anton Pohlmann, who was found guilty of cruelty to hens in Germany, moved his operations to Ohio where hens and other farm animals are exempted from the anti-cruelty laws. Ohio law states it is unlawful to "keep animals other than cattle, poultry or fowl, swine, sheep or goats in an enclosure without wholesome exercise and a change of air."

Neighbors of the Buckeye Egg Farm near Croton, in central Ohio, sued the company in August. Jurors heard three weeks of testimony, and awarded the multi-million dollar settlement to cover negligence by one of the world's largest egg factories and nuisance of odors and fly infestations caused by Buckeye Egg Farm and Pohlmann. Compensatory damages, reimbursements for loss of use of property and its diminished value, totaled nearly $4 million. Punitive damages, ordered as a punishment for wrongful acts, amounted to over $15.7 million.

The state has filed seven sets of contempt charges for violations such as spilling contaminated water into creeks and failing to stop massive outbreaks of flies and other insects at its facilities in Wyandot, Hardin and Licking counties.

Congratulations to the plaintiffs for their success in holding Mr. Pohlmann and the Buckeye Egg Factory accountable for at least some of their atrocities!