If passed, an Indiana bill would require people who sue livestock farms to pay the farm’s legal fees if the lawsuit is declared frivolous. According to the Associated Press, the bill and it’s advancement through the Indiana General Assembly have activists concerned about the ‘chilling effect’ it would send through rural communities.
The bill (HB 1091) was introduced in early January by Republican State Representatives Bill Friend and Don Lehe. It was passed by the state’s House earlier this month with a 57-39 vote and is scheduled to go before a Senate committee on Feb. 22 for a hearing.
Rep. Friend told the AP that Indiana’s agricultural operations need protection from groundless lawsuits.
For lawyers such as Kim Ferraro of the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation, the bill poses potential problems for those with legitimate grievances against large livestock operations.