Farmer sues when pigs die

Ann Knef Dec. 13, 2007, 7:38am

A power outage at a pig farm in July and the resulting death of 1,899 animals has prompted a suit against Berry Nursery and its operators Todd and Donna Berry.

According to a suit filed Dec. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Berry Nursery allegedly breached its contract of producing feeder pigs to Maschoff West LLC by failing to maintain its facility in good repair.

The suit also claims the defendants failed to protect the pigs.

Represented by William J. Niehoff and Lorraine Cavataio of Mathis, Marifan, Richter & Grandy in Belleville, Maschoff West is seeking at least $212,000 in damages, attorneys fees and costs, as well as a declaration that defendants breached contract.

Maschoff claims it exercised its right to terminate its contract with Berry Nursery.

"The Defendants herein have asserted and claimed that Plaintiff has breached the Agreement and claimed to be owed damages in excess of $1,500,000.00," the complaint states.

The suit also claims the defendants agreed to provide standby generation equipment which would become operational in the event of a power failure. But when an outage occurred July 10, generators were not provided, the suit claims.

Maschoff West also claims Berry Nursery agreed to maintain an average death loss of less than 3 percent above the current average value in similar facilities, but allegedly failed.

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