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Florida faces $1.2 million verdict for killing citrus trees

The owner of a commercial nursery has won a $1.2 million judgment against the Florida Department of Agriculture in the latest verdict against the state agency for destroying citrus trees in the 2000s during an attempt to stop the spread of costly tree diseases.

A jury in Orlando last week determined the agriculture department had destroyed more than 160,000 citrus plants in an effort to stop citrus greening and that Gary Mahon deserved the $1.2 million as compensation.

The Department of Agriculture had argued Mahon didn’t deserve compensation since he could have avoided his losses by moving his citrus plants into greenhouses.

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