Most days, the first thing you notice when you get out of your car in Tonopah is the smell, and it hits you like a tidal wave. The caustic ammonia, the pervasive, musty funk of manure and blood, and the overpowering stench of chickens. Four million of them, to be precise. These chickens live in a dozen massive henhouses owned by Hickman Family Farms.
Since the construction of the facility, Tonopah residents are faced with this consistently unpredictable stench, which prevents them from enjoying their homes and community like they once did. An RV park in town – Saddle Mountain RV Park – is struggling to bring back customers because of the smell. And then there are the flies. The flies are everywhere: just ask Jesse Meyer, who has to put up new flypaper strips every single day.
The residents of Tonopah fought against the construction of the farm in 2014, even filing a lawsuit to stop it, but they lost. The avenue for complaints in this situation is through Maricopa County. Unfortunately, the residents’ complaints have proven unsuccessful. Their County Board of Supervisors representative is Clint Hickman.
Some residents decided to call Plattner Verderame, P.C. Our clients, the people who have lived in Tonopah since before Hickman’s Family Farm arrived, are trapped. They’d prefer not to move – this is their home – but even those who want to are struggling. They cannot sell their homes because of the stench, flies, feathers and chicken guts occasionally found on the streets of Tonopah.
Hickman Family Farms is a legal nuisance
“It is a public nuisance, and is no less a nuisance because the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted is unequal, for anything to be injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses or an obstruction to the free use of property that interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood or by a considerable number of persons.”
Arizona’s nuisance laws are designed to protect its residents’ rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – those same rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
Tonopah residents – men and women who bought their homes envisioning a happy, healthy place for their children to play, or for their retirement, or for any number of reasons – have lost those rights. They cannot sell their homes. They cannot sleep without sheets over their faces at night, because of the flies. They are, in the words of one resident, embarrassed to have their friends and families over to their homes, because the smell and the bugs are everywhere.
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we’re fighting for the rights of Tonopah residents who have had their dreams of the best life possible ruined. We have the skills, the resources and the experience to handle complex claims against large-scale companies and corporations – and we have the passion and the drive to keep on fighting for out community. If you have questions about the nuisance lawsuit filed against Hickman Family Farms, or would like to speak to one of our attorneys in Phoenix, please call 602-266-2002, or fill out our contact form.
“Warm, caring people that go the extra mile. They’ll tell you exactly what the situation is and what to expect. I can’t thank them enough for all of their help!”
– Andrea Sarich, 5.0 rating ★★★★★