Sinclair CEO David Smith has lost a lawsuit filed against him by a farmer.
A jury awarded Stephen Pieper $1.8 million dollars in the lawsuit that he filed against Smith in a land dispute.
Smith purchased property back in 2013 from a local farm. Pieper had leased part the land through the previous owner to use to grow crops.
He planted his crops on the land that he was leasing and according to the verdict, Smith unlawfully hired someone July 20 to plow under a corn crop that Pieper planted and did so "willfully and with malice."
Pieper was awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages and $325,000 in additional damages related to the crop destruction.
"It's been a rough couple of years," said Pieper, who leases about 1,000 acres of farmland in Baltimore and Harford counties. "I hope this outcome protects farmers in the future in similar situations."
An attorney for Smith said he is preparing post-trial motions asking the court for a new trial or to reverse the jury's decision.
"We don't think it bears any relationship to the evidence," said Francis R. Laws of Thomas & Libowitz. "We obviously have a different view, and there are some things we feel fairly strongly about."
Thomas C. Beach III, an attorney for Pieper, said his client feels vindicated.
"You don't knock down 95 acres of corn to make a point," said Beach.
Somewhere, there are some ex-Sinclair employees with big smiles on their faces.
H/T Baltimore Sun