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Dean Foods v. Consolidated Freightways

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Citation Edit

Dean Foods Co. v. Consolidated Freightways Mtr., 29 F.Supp.2d 495 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Dean sued for the damage done to a laser machine that marks expiration dates on dairy and food products. The machine was sent to the maker for routine maintenance and was in operating condition when delivered to defendant for return to Dean. But when it arrived at Dean, there were two holes in the crate, apparently made by a forklift.

Dean got a replacement for $24,000 less a credit of $4,000 for salvage value; it also paid $480 in shipping costs. To justify this, Dean's president, Jim Morin, made an affidavit of value. Defendant argued that he was not an expert. Said the court: he runs the company, and while not an expert on repair, “ was analogous to a treating physican rather than an examining expert.”

To counter this evidence, Freightways offered an affidavit from an administrative assistant who searched the Internet, finding two sites offering the same machine at prices ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

As the court noted:

So we have a dispute between man and Ethernet — Morin v. Internet. In this case the man wins because the Internet data is not admissible.

Specifically, Judge Zagel noted, the Freightways employee only reported what she found on the screen; she had no personal knowledge of the machines or the market, nor did she have any experience from which to opine that the machines offered on the Internet were comparable to the one Dean had to replace. So Morin got his $20,840.

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