Mariposa Farms LLC, owned by Larry and Donene Skelley, Causey, NM, won a huge victory over Westfalia-Surge, Inc. in US District Court for the District of New Mexico. Mariposa, a start-up rotary dairy operation, experienced massive milking machine problems, eventually determined as being created by inappropriate design, implementation and oversight by Westfalia-Surge.
David Domina, James Cann and Trial Preparation Manager, Kim Weber, of Domina Law Group pc llo, working with Felicia Weingartner and other lawyers at the Aguilar Law Office PC of Albuquerque, prepared the Mariposa case. Domina and Weingartner presented it to a Federal Court jury in Albuquerque for two and one-half weeks.
The world’s second largest milking machine company denied fault, claimed all losses were the farmer’s fault, and asked the jury to completely absolve it. The jury disagreed.
Mariposa’s seventeen (17) witnesses, including herdsmen, production veterinarians, engineers, technical persons, an economist, a State inspector, and bankers, asked the jury to determine Mariposa’s total damages that were approximately $10 million. The jury concluded damages totaled approximately $8.7 million.
The jury found Westfalia-Surge liable to Mariposa Farms because it:
a. Was negligent itself, and also was responsible for the negligence of its dealer,
b. Breached expressed and implied warranties, and was responsible to the dairyman for the breaches, and
c. Could not entirely escape liability because others caused the loss.
Before trial, Mariposa settled its claims against a second Defendant, Rota-Tech Dairy Sheds International, Ltd., for an undisclosed sum. Rota-Tech built the carousel platform for the milk parlor at Mariposa.
“Dairy farmers, like other American producers, face increasing challenges when doing business with multi-national corporations like Westfalia-Surge,” said Dave Domina. “It takes an enormous amount of energy and effort to prepare, cut through the pretrial motions, and present to a jury, a complex engineering and veterinary medicine case.”
Westfalia-Surge never made a settlement offer until the last day of trial. Then, its offer was “a very low six figure amount.” Felicia Weingartner of Albuquerque added the outcome for Mariposa, which will net only a proportionate distribution of jury’s damages determination, is “a wonderful outcome for Mariposa. We hope it will put the Skelly family back on the path towards success.”
April 28, 2005
David A. Domina
Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights.