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University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bull Semen Mix-Up Leads to £67,000 Damage Award

13m34bloodblackicre_smallHere's a story for good old Rose the Second of Aberlone. After wrongly labeling the semen of a "valuable Aberdeen Angus bull," a UK artificial insemination center has been ordered to pay £67,000 in damages. The story from the BBC:

Farmer Hamish Sclater, of Turriff, Aberdeenshire, has been awarded the settlement after Deveron Limited Edition's semen could not be sold.

More than 1,000 straws of semen from the bull could not be exported or sold at home.

The award was made against Carlisle firm Lindsay AI.

In a case held at Carlisle County Court, Judge Peter Hughes QC heard that Mr Sclater had agreed a valuable contract to sell semen from Deveron Limited Edition to the Irish Angus Cattle Society.

The semen could only be taken at sites specially licensed.

The labelling mistake was discovered in November 2005, by which time Deveron Limited Edition had died and the semen could not be replaced. In his judgment, the judge said: "Deveron Limited Edition was therefore a limited edition in more ways than one.

"The semen collected by the defendants was all there ever would be and the only means of breeding from him."

'Huge losses'
Lindsay's AI has been ordered to pay damages of £31,845 relating to the loss of profit on the sale of 1,158 straws and £36,100 for the lost enhancement to the value of the herd.

Mr Sclater said: "I am just a normal farmer trying to get on.

"I am still astonished that we had to go to court when liability was admitted two and a half years ago, but our losses are huge as has been proved by the judgment.

"We have been lucky in the support we have had from our friends, family and others in the farming community."

Deveron Limited Edition sired just one bull calf naturally, which sold for £20,000.

Stewart Fyfe, from Burnetts Solicitors in Carlisle, who represented Mr and Mrs Sclater, said: "This has been a very interesting case because it raised some tricky issues of foresight of loss in negligence and breach of contract claims.

"In the end, our judgment has been proved correct.

"Of course, getting judgment doesn't guarantee that Lindsay's AI can afford to pay what's due, but the Sclaters have certainly been vindicated for pursuing this claim."

At family-owned Lindsay AI, Helen Lindsay told the BBC Scotland news website the company was disappointed at the figure awarded and that an appeal would be contemplated.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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