Barbara Berry v. Ken M. Spooner Farms

2009 WL 927704 (2009)

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Barbara Berry v. Ken M. Spooner Farms

United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
2009 WL 927704 (2009)

Facts

Barbara Berry S.A. de C.V. (Berry) (plaintiff) was a Mexican corporation. Ken M. Spooner Farms, Inc. (Spooner) (defendant) was a Washington corporation. Berry wished to plant 74 acres of raspberries and purchased 3,150 pounds of raspberry root stock for that purpose from Spooner. However, that was not enough root stock to plant 74 acres, so Berry propagated the Spooner root stock using a method called etiolation, which Berry asserted was commonly used in Mexico and was industry standard. Per Berry, the fruit from the propagated plants was unacceptable, leading Berry to sue Spooner for breaching express and implied warranties in the parties’ contract by supplying defective root stock. Spooner moved for summary judgment, arguing that Berry did not use Spooner root stock to grow raspberries bur rather used the root stock to produce a new generation of raspberry plants. Per Spooner, this contravened industry standards, which was to plant root stock directly into the ground. Additionally, Spooner noted that (1) all the allegedly defective fruit came from the plants that Berry propagated; (2) Spooner sold the genetically identical root stock to another customer, who experienced no problems; and (3) other factors like weather and soil conditions could have caused Berry to grow unacceptable fruit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burgess, J.)

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