The agribusiness giant J.G. Boswell Co. is asking for a new trial in Bakersfield after it was ordered to pay $13.5 million in damages to three Kern County farmers. A jury ordered Boswell to pay the actual and punitive damages after hearing the case of Jack and Jeff Thomson and Ken Wegis. The three charged Boswell with filing a false and malicious libel suit against them to suppress their support for the Peripheral Canal campaign in 1982. The three prominent Kern County growers had taken out advertisements supporting the controversial water project and blasting Boswell for opposing the canal.