Hylla orders plaintiffs in Prairie Farms case to respond to discovery

By Christina Stueve | Jul 16, 2012




Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla on Friday ordered the plaintiff in a breach of contract suit to respond to defendant Prairie Farms Dairy's discovery within 30 days.

Michael and Denise Richter, owners of Rich-Lane Farms filed a lawsuit against Prairie Farms Dairy in 2006, claiming that after improving their dairy and buying stock in Prairie Farms as part of a milk marketing agreement, Prairie Farms terminated the agreement and acted oppressively to them as Prairie Farms shareholders.

Hylla also ordered the Richters to supplement discovery by Aug. 13 and to produce all documents by that date.

Prairie Farms Dairy filed a response to the plaintiff's motion for leave to disclose additional experts July 12, requesting that Hylla deny the plaintiff's motion for leave to disclose additional experts and enter a case management order governing the remainder of discovery and trial.

"Because plaintiffs failed to present a clear, objective reason why they were unable to meet the deadline and why an extension should be granted, the plaintiffs' motion for leave to disclose additional experts must be denied," Prairie Farms Dairy stated.

Hylla on July 13 granted the plaintiff's motion over the defendant's objection.

Hylla also included in Friday's order that the hearing would be held on the plaintiff's motion for leave to disclose additional experts.

"Defense counsel represents that his office did not receive the plaintiff's memorandum in support filed with the court May 25. The court notes there is no executed certificate of service," Hylla wrote.

The company claims discovery has been ongoing for nearly six years.

Prairie Farms sought discovery of information relating to the financial condition of the plaintiffs' farm subsequent to 2005, when their membership in Prairie Farms was terminated.

"Plaintiffs' continual promises in the last four years that the information was being compiled and would be produced have remained unfulfilled, and plaintiffs' statements that the information was in the hands of its accountants have been false or inaccurate," Prairie Farms states.

Todd Sivia of Edwardsville represents the Richters.

Donald Schoemaker and Laura Hayden of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale in Belleville represent Prairie Farms.

Madison County case number 06-L-892.

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