Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, Cullenberg & Tensen PLLC, and Perrone Law PLLC have secured a series of wins for dairy farmers who purchased and were dissatisfied with robotic milking systems sold to them by agricultural machinery manufacturers. In a class action filed against Lely North America, Inc., dairy farmers allege Lely’s robotic milker is defective and does not perform as represented and advertised, causing significant damages to the farmers who purchased them.
In recent months, the firms’ secured two favorable decisions in litigation against Lely, Kruger v. Lely North America, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota:
- On December 14, 2020, Judge Nancy E. Brasel denied a motion to dismiss filed by Lely for lack of personal jurisdiction concerning Lely International entities, and ordered limited jurisdictional discovery; and
- On February 10, 2021, the judge addressed a motion brought by Lely requesting the Court dismiss the case for failure to state a claim, ruling in favor of the farmers on four claims – breaches of express and implied warranties, negligence, strict liability, and fraudulent concealment.
Originally filed in February 2020, the class-action case against Lely alleges, among other defects and problems, that the systems fail to adequately clean and dry each teat before the start of the milking process, routinely miss quarters due to teat cup attachment failures, cause bacteria-contaminated milk droplets, slugs of milk and other contaminants to impact against the teat ends and enter the teat canal due to vacuum drops and spikes caused by inadequate vacuum capacity and reserve, and use defective and inadequate methods to detect mastitis and divert abnormal milk, all of which adversely affects cow health, milk production and milk quality, while causing a host of other long-term issues.
These two Orders follow the firms’ earlier success securing a denial of a motion to dismiss in similar litigation against DeLaval Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. In January 2020, Judge Stephen R. Bough denied a trio of motions requesting to prematurely end a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of dairy farmers who had purchased DeLaval’s voluntary milking system (“VMS”) robots. The lawsuit raises the similar allegations that the robots were defective and did not perform as represented and advertised.