Tomato Farm Claims Expired Agriphage CMM Caused Loss Of Crops From Bacterial Canker

A tomato farm alleged that Nutrien and other agriculture companies which produce chemicals to prevent bacteria led its crop of roma tomatoes, large round tomatoes, and grape tomatoes to become ruined with bacterial disease because they delayed orders and sent expired chemicals. Certis moved the lawsuit to the Southern District of Illinois on Thursday. 

The initial complaint was filed on July 2 in Illinois state court by Larry Trover Produce Inc. against Nutrien Ag Solutions Inc., Nutrien LTD, Omnilytics Inc., and Certis USA Inc. The plaintiff, according to the filing, is a tomato and vegetable farm and is run by Larry and Patricia Trover. Each of the defendants manufactures and distributes Agriphage products which were purchased by the plaintiff for use on their tomatoes. 

The plaintiff explained that it did business with Omnilytics for seven years, but was then “directed” to Nutrien agents in Indiana instead.  The plaintiff decided to spray Agripage on its crops in June 2020 based on weather conditions, including extreme heat and rain and hoped the projects would prevent bacterial spot and bacterial canker from spreading through the tomato crop. 

Reportedly, the plaintiff ordered quantities of Agriphage Tomato Spot and Agriphage CMM on June 18 and July 2, 2020, Agriphage CMM is specifically used to prevent bacterial canker which can spread through and ruin an entire crop. 

Larry Trover Produce said it received the first order on June 24 and began to apply the product immediately following the proper instructions, but signs of bacterial canker began to appear regardless leading it to place the second order.  The plaintiff said that the July 2 order was not shipped until after he called the Nutrien agent and when it did come it was “well past the expiration date noted on the Agriphage packaging.” At that point, the plaintiff noticed that the June shipment was also past its expiration date. 

Because Agriphage CMM had worked to keep the plaintiffs’ crops free from bacterial canker for the previous seven years, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants actions caused his crop to be destroyed in 2020.  The plaintiff noted that he took the recommended steps, including storing the Agriphage in a cool spot, once it came into its possession. The complaint explained that his crop yields were “substantially reduced” and “unmarketable.” 

In the removal notice, Certix noted that the parties are citizens of different states and that as the plaintiffs are seeking over $300,000 in damages it meets the requirements to be heard in federal court. 

The plaintiff is represented by Richard Kruger Law, Certis is represented by Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP, and the other defendants are not yet represented.