Friday, March 20, 2015

Sweda Farms files appeal with Supreme Court

Lawyers for Svante Lind and his Sweda Farms egg-industry business have filed an application to the Supreme Court, trying to reverse a lower-court decision that has let Burnbrae Farms Ltd. off the hook in a conspiracy case.

They argue that the lower court officials made several errors including:

-       Allowing Burnbrae to get off even though the judge found the egg-grading company engaged in “a pattern of substandard grading.”
-       Saying Sweda’s lawyers failed to seek a court order forcing Burnbrae to furnish all of its egg-grading documents and information related to the court case. Sweda’s lawyers point out that Burnbrae has an obligation, under Rule 30, to provide the information. Besides, there was already enough information on the record showing Burnbrae’s violation of grading standards without going to the time an expense of getting a court order to gain more documentation.
-       Sweda’s lawyers say that Burnbrae engaged in “deliberate non-disclosure and non-compliance with Rule 30”.
-       The lower court judge faulted Sweda for failing to engage an expert witness on egg grading, including the issue of whether Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforcement of egg-grading standards allow zero tolerance cracked and dirty eggs in Grade A retail packaging. Sweda’s lawyers say an expert witness has nothing to work with because of Burnbrae’s failure to disclose documents.

-       Sweda’s lawyers also argue that testimony about the role of Joseph Klei, a former  Best Choice employee, shows him engaging in a conspiracy with Burnbrae and Gray to the detriment of Best Choice; they also point to discrepancies in testimony by three Burnbrae owners and officials – Joe Hudson, his daughter, Mary Jane McFall, and Hank Lammers -over the role Klei played.

There has so far been no response filed by Burnbrae’s lawyers. They have in the past said that Burnbrae has not engaged in any wrongdoing, the same claim made by lawyers for L. H. Gray and Son Ltd. which has failed in its bid to get out of the same lawsuit.

The Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board and its general manager, Harry Pelissero, are the third party Sweda has accused of conspiracy to market substandard eggs and to drive Sweda Farms’ egg-grading operation out of business.

Lind has sold his Best Choice Eggs business.

Lind has hired Gowlings to pursue the appeal to the Supreme Court. The lawyers now on the case, taking over from Donald Good and AGB Lawyers Professional Corporation, are Sandra Brown and Jeff Beedel.