State v. Quality Egg Farm, Inc.

104 Wis. 2d 506, 311 N.W.2d 650 (1981)

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State v. Quality Egg Farm, Inc.

Wisconsin Supreme Court
104 Wis. 2d 506, 311 N.W.2d 650 (1981)

Facts

The Quality Egg Farm, Inc. (Egg Farm) (defendant) began its egg-farm operations in 1967. Over the course of a decade, the operations more than doubled. As a result, several tons of chicken manure accumulated on the property, which caused intense odors to be present on neighboring properties, as well as a significant issue with flies to occur. Thus, the State of Wisconsin (state) (plaintiff) filed an action for abatement of a public nuisance against Egg Farm, seeking abatement of the emission of chicken and chicken manure odors caused by Egg Farm’s operations. At trial, residents who lived within five miles of Egg Farm and who resided in the area prior to the start of its operations testified that the chicken manure odors were nauseating and unbearable. The trial court ultimately entered an injunction in favor of the state and gave Egg Farm nine months to eliminate all objectionable odors and the fly problem. The court based this injunction on the finding that Egg Farm constituted a public nuisance. Egg Farm appealed, and the court of appeals reversed the trial court, finding that the evidence presented was insufficient because only a few private parties were affected, but private relief was not being sought by the state. The state then sought review of the court of appeals’ decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Steinmetz, J.)

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