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H Parsons V. Uttley Ingham Notes

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H. PARSONS V. UTTLEY INGHAM FACTS The plaintiffs, H. Parsons (Livestock) Ltd., have a fine herd of nearly 700 pigs at their farm in Derbyshire. They feed the pigs on special pignuts. They use about 10 tons a month of these pignuts. In order to store and handle the pignuts, the plaintiffs bought in 1968 a big hopper called a bulk feed storage hopper. They bought it from the makers, the defendants, Uttley Ingham & Co. Ltd., who are sheet-metal workers. The plaintiffs paid PS270 for it. It was a huge round metal bin 28 feet high and 8 feet 6 inches in diameter. It was exactly the same as the first, but when the delivery man erected it in position he forgot to adjust the ventilator. He left it closed. It was fastened with a piece of tape which had been put on so as to stop it rattling on the journey. No one noticed the mistake, because the ventilator was at the top of the hopper 28 feet above the ground. The delivery man went off. The plaintiffs used the hopper. They put pignuts into it just as they did with the first hopper. On August 12, 1971, they filled it with 91/2 tons of pignuts; on September 10, 81/2 tons; on October 1, 8 tons. At first all was well. But on September 28 a small number of the nuts appeared to be mouldy. The plaintiffs did not think this would harm the pigs. So they went on feeding them. Early in October more nuts turned mouldy. But still the plaintiffs were not unduly concerned. As a rule, mouldy nuts do not harm pigs. On Saturday, October 9, there was a bigger proportion of mouldy nuts; and some of the pigs were showing signs of illness. It was indeed the trouble. After much evidence by experts, the judge found that the closed ventilator was the cause. But the effects remained so as to affect the herd greatly. A large number of the pigs suffered an attack of E. coli, which is very bad for pigs. HOLDING LORD DENNING (MINORITY) Rejecting the distinction between tort and contract in Heron II I find it difficult to apply those principles universally to all cases of contract or to all cases of tort: and to draw a distinction between what a man "contemplates" and what he "foresees." I soon begin to get out of my depth. I cannot swim in this sea of semantic exercises
- to say nothing of the different degrees of probability - especially when the cause of action can be laid either in contract or in tort. Distinction between economic loss and physical damage

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