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Schafersman v. Agland Coop
Nebraska Supreme Court
631 N.W.2d 862 (2001)
John and Eileen Schafersman (plaintiffs) bought oats from Agland Coop (Agland) (defendant). The Schafersmans then mixed the oats with other types of feed and fed the mix to their dairy cows. The cows became sick. The Schafersmans lost milk, cows, and money and sued Agland. Agland admitted that the oats had been contaminated with a hog supplement but claimed that none of the extra ingredients were toxic to cows at the levels present in the supplement. At trial, the Schafersmans’ expert, Dr. Wallace Wass, testified that even though no one mineral was present at a toxic level, the combination of subtoxic minerals created by the contaminated oats had made the cows sick. Wass called this theory multiple-mineral toxicity. Wass admitted that the theory was based mostly on observation and had not been proven through a controlled study. Agland’s expert testified that the theory of multiple-mineral toxicity had not been generally accepted by the scientific community. The jury awarded damages to the Schafersmans, and Agland appealed. On appeal, Agland argued that Wass’s expert testimony should have been excluded because it was based on a novel theory that had not been generally accepted by the scientific community.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gerrard, J.)
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