LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, and DALLAS – The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of JBS USA LLC and Swift Pork Co. in a long-running dispute over improvements at the JBS Louisville Pork Plant in the Butchertown area of Louisville, Kentucky.

In its July 10 decision, which became final on Aug. 10, the court ruled against the Butchertown Neighborhood Association (BNA) in its efforts to prohibit JBS from making improvements at the plant. The dispute dates back to 2009, when JBS sought a Modified Conditional Use Permit (MCUP) to build a covered hog chute. The Louisville Board of Zoning Adjustment (BOZA) granted the MCUP with several conditions, including requiring JBS to add $137,000 worth of landscaping around the plant and surrounding area.

JBS appealed the zoning board’s ruling to Kentucky state court, claiming the landscaping requirement was unconstitutional. The court agreed and sent the MCUP back to the zoning board for further consideration consistent with the court’s ruling. Although the BNA raised numerous procedural objections before BOZA in an effort to thwart the board from considering or granting the company’s request for a MCUP, JBS was granted another MCUP that allowed the company to build the new hog chute and make other improvements at the processing plant.

As a result of its unsuccessful effort to procedurally bar the company’s MCUP application from being reconsidered by BOZA, the BNA appealed to a Louisville district court, which likewise rejected the BNA’s arguments. Ultimately, the case worked its way up to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. In the recent decision, the appeals court rejected the BNA’s complaints. 

The opinion marks the first time the Kentucky Court of Appeals has issued an opinion on the merits of the long-standing, highly-publicized dispute between the BNA and JBS. The opinion is also notable for its analysis of various Kentucky statutes and regulations governing land use issues that have not received much judicial attention previously.

Attorney Clayton Bailey, a name partner in the Dallas complex litigation boutique Bailey Brauer PLLC, assisted with JBS’ briefing before the court of appeals.

“It’s obvious that the Butchertown Neighborhood Association’s real goal is to put JBS out of business and run the butcher out of Butchertown,” he says. “Since 2006, the neighborhood group has objected to nearly every zoning application filed by JBS, even if the proposed change would actually benefit the neighborhood. Fortunately, the courts have recognized that JBS has always acted within the law and in the best interests of the community.”

Along with Mr. Bailey, JBS was represented by attorneys Glenn Price and Bart Greenwald from the Louisville office of Frost Brown Todd LLP.

In addition to the dispute over the second MCUP, this is the third recent ruling JBS has won against the BNA. On March 2, Circuit Court Judge A.C. McKay Chauvin dismissed the association’s lawsuit against JBS and the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government over JBS’ use of a nearby parking lot as a staging area for trucks awaiting pickup by grocery stores.

Bailey Brauer PLLC is committed to providing efficient, effective legal representation in high-stakes litigation. Led by experienced trial and appellate lawyers Clayton Bailey and Alex Brauer, the firm focuses on complex commercial litigation, agribusiness, appeals, and class and collective actions. For more information, please contact Bailey Brauer today.