Program History The statewide Pre-litigation Farm Nuisance Mediation Program was established by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.3 on October 1, 1995. The statute is designed to encourage and promote early resolution of disputes alleging the existence of an agricultural nuisance. The statute defines an agricultural nuisance as farming or livestock raising activity that is injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property.
Program Summary This program is designed to operate "pre-litigation", that is, before a lawsuit has been filed in a dispute. In fact, mediation of such disputes is mandatory before a civil action can be brought alleging the existence of a farm nuisance in either superior or district court and 7A-38.3(c) provides that any case filed prior to a pre-litigation mediation, can be dismissed upon motion of either party. Pre-litigation mediation is initiated by the filing of a Request for Mediation with the Clerk of Superior Court (AOC-CV-820). Parties then have an opportunity to select their mediator. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in the district will appoint one. Pre-litigation mediations are to be conducted in accordance with the Rules Implementing the Mediated Settlement Conference Program and with the Rules Implementing the Pre-litigation Farm Nuisance Mediation Program.
Outcome G.S. 7A-38.3(f) provides that the parties may agree to waive mediation. Upon receipt of such a waiver or the conclusion of a pre-litigation mediation, the mediator will issue a certificate indicating a waiver was requested or that mediation was held. If a waiver was sought or the mediation resulted in impasse, the parties may use the certificate issued by the mediator to file litigation.