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In Brief

Court of Appeals “frankly at a loss” with Trial Court's Ruling

The firm’s client contracted with a greenhouse in Pueblo, Colorado to cultivate mother stock hemp plants

July 25, 2023
Murray I. Weiner

The firm’s client contracted with a greenhouse in Pueblo,Colorado to cultivate mother stock hemp plants and provide cuttings. The firm’s client would then sell the cuttings to farmers.

The contract required the greenhouse to comply with protocols set by the client for growing the mother stock plants and harvesting cuttings. The firm’s client maintains that the greenhouse did not follow the established protocols, but rather added its own fertilizer regimen on top of and in addition to the fertilizer called for in the protocols. The firm’s client asserts that this additional fertilizer shocked the plants and caused a large number of the cuttings to fail.The firm’s client therefore refused to pay for the failed cuttings and a lawsuit followed.

After a bench trial, the court issued a 14-page ruling. In the first 12 pages of its decision, the trial court explicitly found that the greenhouse had materially breached the contract and the established protocols. It also found that the firm’s client had not breached the contract. Notwithstanding these explicit findings, the trial court – in the last two pages of its ruling –awarded damages to the Pueblo grower and against the firm’s client. An appeal followed.

Using language more frequently directed at the arguments made by attorneys appearing before it, the Court of Appeals admitted “[w]e are frankly at a loss with what to do with the court’s findings and conclusions.”Noting the facially inconsistent findings and conclusions of the trial court inits judgment, the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment for the Pueblo grower and sent the case back to the trial court for a new trial.

Murray I. Weiner of the firm tried the case and handled the appeal before the Court of Appeals.

Murray I. Weiner
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*This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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