MCKINLEYVILLE — The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a case between Harry Shelton Livestock and plantiffs Miranda Dairy partners Tim and Dorice Miranda.
The defendant—Shelton Livestock—allegedly breached a verbal agreement with Miranda Dairy regarding the exchange of dairy cattle to be raised by Shelton Livestock in Tennessee to then be returned to Miranda Dairy’s organic farm. Shelton Livestock allegedly did not raise the cattle to the agreed upon standards and, when the cattle were returned, they caused disease and damage to Miranda Dairy’s other cattle.
The defendants said in their motion to dismiss that the court did not have jurisdiction over the defendants because they were from Tennessee. They also alleged that the statute of limitations was up on the contract claim and that the plantiffs did not bring evidence to the state for fraud and negligence on the breaches of duty, just the breach of the oral agreement.
Shelton alleged the verbal agreement only required him to receive the cattle for his bulls to impregnate then return them to Texas. He denies any responsibility to transfer the impregnated cattle to California as Miranda Dairy said had been part of the oral agreement in the spring of 2016. Since Shelton alleged that he had no part in transferring the cattle to California, he argued the claim of personal jurisdiction in California.
The court said that Shelton’s claim that the statute of limitations had expired was incorrect because he believed the statute was two years, but that only applies to oral contracts that were not for the sale of goods. In this case, there was a sale of goods, so the statute of limitations is four years and is still applicable.
Finally, the court did not agree with Shelton Livestock’s claim of negligence and fraud because a plaintiff cannot recover tort damages as well as damages imposed by the breach of contract.
The case was first brought to the court on Oct. 17, 2018, and the decision released on Feb. 14 by Judge Robert Illman.