Racicky v. Farmland Indus., Inc.
Citation: 33 ELR 20190
No. No. 02-1049, (8th Cir., 05/01/2003)
The court holds that a jury properly found that a feed company negligently provided feed advice to a Nebraska dairy farmer and that the farmer was entitled to lost market value damages, but that the jury improperly awarded lost profits to the farmer. The jury properly held that an agriculture cooperative employee was an agent of the feed company and the record contained sufficient evidence that the employee's feed advice breached the standard of care and caused the farmer's herd to experience a stomach ailment that caused death or decreased milk production. Further, the feed company did not dispute that the farmer lost the market value of the dead or injured cows, and sufficient evidence supported the jury's award of lost market value. However, a claim for lost profits must be supported by financial data that permits a reasonable estimate of the actual loss. The farmer did not provide detailed financial data and instead offered speculation and conjecture based on the lost milk production due to the illness of his herd. Lost production and lost profits, however, are not synonymous, and, in fact, the farmer never lost the full milk production that it sought as lost profits. Thus, because there is insufficient evidence to support the lost profits, the damages award is reversed and the case remanded for a new trial on the amount of lost profits.
Counsel for Appellant
Shook, Hardy & Bacon
1200 Main St., Kansas City MO 64105
Counsel for Appellees
David A. Domina
1065 N. 115th St., Omaha NE 68154