Sean A. Minahan

Olivia R. McDowell

Partner Sean Minahan and attorney Olivia McDowell recently obtained summary judgment dismissal of a breach of contract action relating to custom oat baling work. LDM’s clients, the plaintiffs, performed windrowing, raking, and baling of oats on the defendant’s property pursuant to an oral agreement. Upon completion of the work, the defendant refused to pay for the custom baling. As a result, the plaintiffs brought suit for breach of contract, seeking the full contract price for the work they performed. The defendant then countersued for breach of contract, alleging that the baling work was performed in an untimely and unworkmanlike manner. The plaintiffs presented evidence that all the contractual terms had been complied with, including the extent and timing of the work. In regard to the defendant’s claim the work was not performed in a workmanlike manner, which essentially stated that the oats were not baled as warranted, the Court declined to extend the legal theory of breach of the implied warranty of workmanlike conduct to the agricultural context. Rather, longstanding Nebraska precedent recognized this type of implied warranty in the construction context. The Court declined to extend the breadth of the warranty to agriculture. This is a very favorable ruling for those entering into agricultural contracts as it provides some level of protection given the volatility of certain agricultural products and factors outside an individual’s control