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House Taking Action on Legislation Solidifying Certainty in NC’s Legal System

| Tort Reform & Legal Climate

There are several proposed bills under consideration by the General Assembly that would foster greater clarity and transparency in North Carolina’s legal system. One of those bills is House Bill 467: Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies, which would clarify North Carolina’s law regulating available damages in nuisance lawsuits filed against farms by establishing a clear rule for applying those damages. On Wednesday of last week, the legislation passed on the second reading in the House with a vote of 65-48. Today, the bill is up for further consideration as it’s taken to the House floor for final passage.

In 2015, a federal judge ruled that North Carolina’s law regulating nuisance lawsuits as it stands now is unclear, prompting reforms to remedy this ambiguity in our legal system. By clearly limiting the damages that can be awarded in nuisance lawsuits, House Bill 467 would discourage suits that seek damages far beyond the full market value of a property. Moreover, it would help bolster North Carolina’s $84 billion agricultural economy, as it will allow farmers to focus their attention on operating their farms, rather than the threat of potential lawsuits and exorbitant legal fees.

The NC Chamber supports this important legislation. Solidifying certainty in North Carolina’s legal system is critical to our state’s overall competitiveness. As our state’s industries face growing competition from businesses across the globe benefitting from lower litigation costs, implementing commonsense reforms that will create predictability in legal affairs and strengthen our state’s legal climate is essential to North Carolina’s current and future economic growth. As additional action is taken on House Bill 467, we will update you on its progress.