Growing Media Supplier Loses $39 Million Lawsuit Over Fertilizer

Two Canadian farmers won a multimillion dollar lawsuit last week against British Columbia-based Sun Gro Horticulture and Woodburn Fertilizer Company, claiming Sun Gro’s Multicote 15-9-12+ Minors controlled-release fertilizer cost them millions of dollars in lost crops and customers.

Sun Gro is the designer of Multicote and Woodburn Fertilizer is the company that manufactured it.

According to OregonLive.com, Jag Aujila, who owns JRT Nurseries in British Columbia and Washington state, was awarded nearly $12 million in direct economic losses for the death of his plants, $22.5 million for the loss of customers and nearly $5 million in interest. Aujila’s attorney convinced a jury Multicote killed 4.1 million of JRT’s blueberry plants and hundreds of thousands of other plants based on side-by-side comparisons between crops with Multicote and crops without it.

“It was kind of like a giant sixth-grade science experiment: Wherever the other fertilizers were used, the plants thrived,” says Larry Baron, who worked with Aujila’s attorney, as quoted by OregonLive.com. “Wherever this fertilizer was used, the plants died.”

Another farmer, Eelco De Zwaan, the owner of DeZwaan Nurseries in British Columbia, was awarded more than $240,000 in direct economic losses.

Read the full story online at OregonLive.com and stay tuned to GreenhouseGrower.com for analysis.

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