Nuisance Suits Agricultural Operations
The bill requires that, to file a nuisance suit against an agricultural operation, a plaintiff must occupy land that is within 2,640 feet of the operation. Punitive damages are not allowed unless the agricultural operation has violated certain environmental laws against pollution, the nuisance arises from the violation, and the action is brought within one year after the operation is held to have committed the violation.
Under current law, the prevailing party may be awarded court costs and attorney fees in a nuisance action against an agricultural operation. The bill changes this to award court costs and attorney fees only to a prevailing agricultural operation.
The bill also requires the state of Colorado, a county, a municipality, or a city and county to pay the owner or operator of an agricultural operation reasonable compensation, as determined by a court, for the loss of agricultural use if:
- The government brings a nuisance action against the agricultural operation that results in the court enjoining the agricultural operation from continuing agricultural production on the land; and
- The agricultural operation has been using the land for agricultural production for 10 years or longer.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)