On January 28, 2020, United States District Judge Stephen R. Bough denied a trio of motions filed by DeLaval to prematurely end the class-action lawsuit brought by dairy farmers who had purchased robotic milking systems. The farmers alleged that DeLaval sold defective robots and that the robots did not perform as represented and advertised, causing significant damages to those who purchased them.
The judge found that the farmers had adequately stated claims for relief in tort and warranty, and that they had raised arguments that, if successful on the merits, would preclude DeLaval from enforcing limitations written into their purchase agreements with the farmers.
“DeLaval argued that the form contracts each farmer signed effectively disclaimed all of the representations made to farmers in marketing that the robots worked, that they decreased labor costs, and that they increased milk production,” said Patrick J. Stueve, attorney for the farmers, “but the judge found that the farmers adequately pled that you can’t use fraudulent representations to induce a farmer into signing away his rights.”
The judge also denied DeLaval’s request to prematurely preclude the case from moving forward as a class action, and he ordered the parties to engage in accelerated discovery on whether DeLaval International should remain in the case.
“We intend to start discovery immediately and get the case ready for trial. We look forward to getting in front of a jury and presenting our case for relief for the farmers,” said Stueve.
Farmers wishing to discuss joining the DeLaval lawsuit can contact Stueve Siegel Hanson or US Farm Law at 888-816-2107. The firms are also investigating cases against other manufacturers of robotic milkers.