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Purina, Texas Farm Products call for aquafeed case dismissal

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Aerin Curtis

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

Last updated on 22-May-2017 at 09:21 GMT2017-05-22T09:21:10Z

© iStock/Wavebreakmedia
© iStock/Wavebreakmedia

Purina Animal Nutrition and Texas Farm Products Company have requested a lawsuit brought against them regarding bass feed be dismissed.

Purina Animal Nutrition and Texas Farm Products Company have requested a lawsuit brought against them regarding bass feed be dismissed.

The initial case was brought by Veath Fish Farm and alleged that a Purina feed, generated by Texas Farm Products (TFPC) caused disease and death in the farm’s fish.

“We believe the Veath’s claims to be well-supported by law and by the facts,” Veath’s lawyer, William Niehoff told FeedNavigator. “It is not unusual for a defendant to file motions to dismiss at the early part of a case.”

The group is preparing a response to request, he said. But the expectation is that the case will continue to the discovery process.

The case has been assigned to district Judge Michael Reagan and magistrate Judge Stephen Williams in the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois with a bench trial date set for December 17, according to case documents.

Lawsuit overview

The Illinois-based fish farm produces largemouth bass, which take several years to reach maturity, according to court documents. In June 2015, the company had about 360,000 bass of different ages in production.

The farm started buying Purina brand feeds in 2008 and did not have any problems with the feeds for several years. The farm alleges in its complaint that when TFPC started to generate the feed the product was reformulated.

No information was provided that the manufacturer of the Purina-brand feed had changed or that the composition was altered, alleged the fish farm in its complaint. The change in composition allegedly led to a larger amount of digestible carbohydrate than what fish can use and caused liver damage.

“As a direct and proximate result of feeding its largemouth bass the reformulated, altered  or  changed  AquaMax 500 and AquaMax 600 fish food manufactured by TFPC, Veath Fish Farm began to experience decreased growth and significantly increased deaths of its largemouth bass population,” the farm claimed in its complaint.

The farm is asking for damages, attorney’s fees, costs and additional relief considered proper by the court.

Call for dismissal detail

In their responses to the lawsuit, both Purina Animal Nutrition and TFPC asked for the case to be dismissed and for the court to provide any other relief considered proper.

Both companies called for the lawsuit to be dismissed because the issue “fails as a matter of law,” under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act the companies said in their responses to the lawsuit.

Veath is seeking damages for dead fish, but that action is not allowed given established exceptions to the act, they said in court documents. And, in seeking recovery for the fishfeed, the company has a break of contract action but it has failed to specify from whom it bought the food.

Additionally, negligence claims fail when considered with the economic-loss doctrine, Purina said in court documents. That doctrine “precludes a party from recovering economic losses in tort,” it added.

“Plaintiff’s claims for breach of express and implied warranties fail as a matter of law for lack of privity, since Plaintiff does not allege that it bought the products from Purina and does not identify its seller,” the Missouri-based company said in its response. “Plaintiff’s claim for breach of the implied warranty of fitness also fails because Plaintiff used the fish food for its ordinary purpose and not for any special or particular purpose.”

TFPC echoed the idea that the negligence claim should be dismissed, according to court documents.

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