Lopinot denies motion to dismiss case involving swine farm

Christina Stueve Hodges Jul. 30, 2012, 10:41am



St. Clair County Judge Vincent Lopinot on July 24 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed over an allegedly odorous pig farm.

The Macoupin County neighbors of a swine farm complained in court papers about odors emanating from a farm that is raising approximately 4,500 pigs, saying they are unable to host family gatherings and sleep in their home because of the smell from nearby residents' land.

Joe Clark, Megan Clark, Bob Norris and Tom Gall filed the suit last February against Fragrant 40, Ronald D. Seabaugh and Jeff Seabaugh.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss stating the case should have been filed in Macoupin County over St. Clair County, since the alleged incident occurred in Macoupin County.

"While the registered address for Fragrant 40 is in St. Clair County, all operation, records and management of the facility takes place at the Fragrant 40 facility in Macoupin County, Illinois," wrote defense attorney Claire Manning.

The plaintiffs responded to the defense motion July 13, stating that Defendant Ronald Seabaugh and Fragrant 40 are both residents of St. Clair County.

"St. Clair County has a strong interest in litigating controversies involving their citizens," the plaintiff stated through attorney Gregory Shevlin of Belleville.

"The defendant must show that the plaintiff's chosen forum is inconvenient to the defendant and that another forum is more convenient to all parties," Shevlin wrote.

In addition to Shevlin, Richard H. Middleton Jr. of The Middleton Firm in Savanna, Ga.; and Charles F. Speer of Speer Law Firm in Kansas City, Mo., represent the plaintiffs.

Peter Naylor also represents the defendants. Manning and Naylor are with the law firm Brown, Hay & Stephens in Springfield.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-111.

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