Farm Ireland

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Connolly's Red Mills sues over 'morphine contaminated' horse feed

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Tim Healy

A grain supplier who allegedly provided an ingredient contaminated with elements of morphine, which it is claimed was used to make feed for racehorses, can make an important change to its defence of a legal action being brought against it, the High Court has ruled.

Torc Grain and Feed Ltd, a Dublin-based importer of bulk cereals and materials used in the manufacture of animal feed, is being sued by William Connolly and Sons, trading as Connolly's Red Mills, Gorsebridge, Co Kilkenny.  

Connolly's produce, supply and distribute food stuffs for the horse industry.

Connolly's claim some 29,000t of ground nut provided to them by Torc in 2002 contained significant quantities of morphine.

Connolly's used the nut for the production of horse feed, which it then sold to the industry.

They claim that, subsequently, a number of racehorses tested positive for the banned morphine substance during November and December 2002.

It says horses were disqualified and prize money lost. The product was later recalled.

Connolly's is claiming breach of contract and severe loss against Torc.

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Torc denies the claims and denies it knew or was informed the nut was ever intended for use by racehorses and denies anyway that it contained a banned substance. 

The action was due to be heard last week but Torc sought to amend its defence so as to include a clause in the original contract for the purchase of the nut stating: "the seller accepts no liability whatsoever for indirect or consequential loss, injury, damage or expense of any kind howsoever caused arising out of or contracted with the subject matter of the sales contract".

Connolly's opposed the amendment saying Torc was trying to obliterate with one paragraph a massive portion of its claim for damages.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar ruled he would permit the amendment to be made in advance of the trial.

However, he ruled Torc should pay Connolly's legal costs up to this point in the case.

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