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DiMAIO/CIATTARELLI BILL THAT ENHANCES LEGAL PROTECTIONS TO FARMERS APPROVED BY COMMITTEE
Legislation Assemblyman John DiMaio and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli sponsored that strengthens legal protections to farmers from nuisance lawsuits was released today by the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.
“New Jersey commercial farms are unique in that due to their proximity to population centers there are often complaints about noise and odors from neighboring residents,” said DiMaio, R-Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset. “Years ago, these farms were virtually isolated, but as more people moved into areas in and around the farms, residents not only began complaining about odors and noise, but they began filing nuisance lawsuits which are costly to defend and time consuming. With a plethora of challenges facing farm owners today, they shouldn’t have to bear the additional burden of frivolous lawsuits.”
“Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more groundless nuisance lawsuits against agricultural operations,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “While people should never be dissuaded from exercising their legal right to file a lawsuit, this bill is all about striking the right balance and ensuring fairness. If a lawsuit is truly frivolous, the farmer shouldn’t be required to pay all the fees associated with the case.”
The bill, A-531, would amend the “Right to Farm Act” to allow farmers to recover reasonable costs and attorney fees incurred in the defense of complaints against commercial agricultural operations, activities or structures found to conform to an agricultural management practice recommended by the State Agriculture Development Committee.
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"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).- NJTV
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