The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has allowed claims to proceed against Purina Animal Nutrition and its distributor, which a largemouth bass producer claims caused “a substantial loss of its fish population from disease and death.”
Veath Fish Farm is seeking more than $1 million for loss of sales, customers and other damages from Purina and Texas Farm Products Company, which allegedly produced the feed. Both defendants moved to dismiss the suit.
The lawsuit claims Purina’s production change to Texas Farm Products caused reformulation of AquaMax 500 and AquaMax 600, which Veath fed to its fish. Veath says the reformulation created a feed with higher digestible carbohydrate percentages than largemouth bass can use, causing liver damage in the fish.
Details of suit
In the lawsuit, Veath said it started using Purina’s fish feed in 2008. Before June 2015, AquaMax 500 and AquaMax 600 were manufactured by at least one other company that did not include Texas Farm Products. Veath says that, around June 2015, Texas Farm Products began manufacturing the feeds, and no notice of change in production facility was provided to Veath.
As of June 2015, Veath had 360,000 largemouth bass in production. But, by April 2016, the company says it suffered a “substantial loss of its fish population from disease and death.”
The complaint alleges that Purina committed consumer fraud and negligence; and breached express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability and implied warranty. It also alleges that Texas Farm Products violated the consumer fraud act; was negligent; and breached express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability, and implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
The court dismissed Veath’s claims against both defendants for implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, because the products at issue were fish food meant for commercial fish stocks, such that feeding commercial largemouth bass was not a “particular” use, nor was there any allegation that the defendants represented the products would do something above and beyond their normal advertised function.