Digest: Davis v Shindle, 2018 SKQB 107

Date:April 05, 2018

Reported as: 2018 SKQB 107

Docket Number: QB17493 , QBG 835/15 JCR

Court: Court of Queen's Bench

Date: 2018-04-05


  • McCreary


  • Contracts � Breach � Damages
  • Contracts - Agistment

Digest: The plaintiffs applied for an order for summary judgment against the defendants in the amount of $28,600 pursuant to Queen�s Bench rule 7-2. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants breached an agreement to lease 89 cows from them between December 2013 and November 2014 by failing to care for the cows in a husband-like manner. They sought damages for the loss of 27 cows that died while under the defendants� care during the term of the agreement. The parties all operated cow/calf cattle operations. When one of the plaintiffs learned that he would be unable to care for his herd during the winter, the defendants agreed to lease the cows. The parties negotiated the terms of the lease and the plaintiff drafted the agreement. The defendants agreed to maintain the cows in a husband-like manner. The agreement contained a clause that stated if �a cow or calf dies, then no replacement is required, and no responsibility will be brought to bear on either party�. Sometime during the term of the lease, 27 cows died. The defendants did not inform the plaintiffs until October 2014 when they were asked to return the herd. The defendants said that the cows had fallen through the ice and drowned in a slough, but they provided no evidence regarding the steps they took to care for the cows, when the cows died or the steps that they had taken to remove the bodies of the cattle from the water and how their carcasses were disposed of. The defendants argued that the agreement should be interpreted as expressly limiting liability for the death of any cow, not just one cow.
HELD: Summary judgment was granted and the court ordered that the defendants pay the plaintiffs the sum of $28,600 representing the value of the cows that had died.
The court found that this was an appropriate case for summary judgment pursuant to Queen�s Bench rule 7-2 as there was no genuine issue for trial. The agreement between the parties was a contract of agistment. The defendants had not met the onus of showing that the animals in question were not lost through their neglect to take reasonable and proper care of them because they failed to provide the required evidence. In interpreting the contract, the court decided that the purpose of it was for the defendants

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