Crawfish Processors Denied Economic Loss Doctrine Appeal By U.S. Supreme Court

Crawfish Processors Denied Economic Loss Doctrine Appeal By U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court considered at its Jan. 20 conference a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Louisiana crawfish buyers and packers who allege liability against the manufacturer of a pesticide used by the growers of the crawfish for business losses and announced Jan. 23 that the petition is denied (Tess Wiltz, et al. v. Bayer CropScience, et al., No. 11-636, U.S. Sup.).


Tess Wiltz and Beaucoup Crawfish of Eunice Inc. are buyers and processors of crawfish.  They sought to represent a class to recover for business losses from Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of Icon-brand fipronil, and Allianz Global Risks U.S. Insurance Co. under the Louisiana Products Liability Act (La. Revised Statues Annotated § 9.28000.54).  They filed a putative class action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (No. 08-2024). 

Icon-Coated Rice 

The plaintiffs allege that Icon-coated rice planted in the 1999 growing season reduced the crawfish crop of the farmers who provided them crawfish.  

The trial court granted summary judgment to Bayer CropScience because the plaintiffs failed to show that the economic loss was the result of damage to their person or their property. 

The plaintiffs appealed. 

A unanimous Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel entered an opinion June 28 affirming summary judgment for Bayer CropScience (Tess Wiltz, et al. v. Bayer CropScience, et al., No. 10-30516, 5th Cir.).  The plaintiffs failed to provide evidence that the pesticide harmed their crawfish or that they were denied a legal right to buy crawfish, according to the panel. 

The Fifth Circuit panel denied rehearing in August.  The petition for a writ of certiorari was filed Nov. 14. 

Collyn A. Peddie of the Law Offices of Collyn Peddie in Houston and Elwood Clement Stevens Jr. of Domengeaux, Wright, Roy & Edwards in Lafayette, La., represent the plaintiffs.  Louis C. LaCour Jr. of Adams & Reese in New Orleans represents Bayer CropScience. 

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