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Cage-Free Laying Systems / Egg Production / Poultry Welfare
on March 6, 2015

Willamette Egg Farms sues installer over dead hens

Willamette Egg Farms says when equipment installed by company malfunctioned, ventilation system failed and 100,000 hens died

Willamette Egg Farms has filed a lawsuit against a company that installed a controller that allegedly malfunctioned and caused the deaths of about 100,000 hens.

According to a suit filed by Willamette Egg Farms, an alarm system failed during an electrical malfunction at a brooder house in Moses Lake, Washington. The malfunction caused ventilation fans to stop working, allegedly asphyxiating the hens, according to a report from the Capital Press.

The suit in federal court seeks $500,000 from Spectrum Communications, the installer of the controller. Spectrum Communications is also located in Moses Lake.

The lawsuit further contends that the controller installed by Spectrum failed to signal an alarm for more than three hours, and the chickens died in abnormally high heat.

The complaint alleges that Spectrum Communications is liable for negligence and breach of contract because it installed a control system that failed to set off an alarm when the ventilation system stopped operating.

Willamette Egg Farms is headquartered in Canby, Oregon. The company provides the Pacific Northwest with eggs and egg products, including cage-free, organic, omega-3 and conventional, according to the WATT Global Media Top Companies Database. Willamette doubled its cage-free production in 2013 to increase its cage-free production to 8 percent of company sales.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice in Spokane, Washington, is presiding over the lawsuit, which was filed in the Eastern District of Washington.

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