Judge finds ex-employee not responsible

Grower holds ex-employee accountable for an unsellable harvest after three years

Knowingly spraying with unchecked pesticides right before harvest, leading to the entire berry harvest becoming unsellable which resulted in over 75,000 euros in damages. This was the accusation of a Dutch berry grower at a former employee.

Thrips and spider mites
In the spring of 2015, the employee noticed thrips and spider mites on the berry plants in the greenhouse. After discussing it with the grower he was given the task of contacting the supplier, who advised the use of Floramite and Curamin. Two weeks after the final spraying it was time to harvest, but the buyer did not want the berries because traces of bifenazate were found. This caused the grower to not be able to sell part of his harvest in 2015.

Loans
The employee defends himself in front of a Dutch court. He brings into question the amount of the damages, but mainly focuses on the fact that the grower only brings the incident up for damage claims now, three years after the incident took place. According to the employee this had to do with the fact that the grower had taken on two loans for the company in 2015 and he was not prepared to jeopardize his ability to borrow more.

At the end of 2016 the employee, 67 years old at that point, retired. After his services at the company were terminated, he still got in contact with the grower every now and then in regards to paying back the loans. It was not until 2018 that the grower decided to hold the employee responsible for the damages caused by the lost harvest.

Decision
The court has decided in favor of the ex-employee. Not only is there a case of the amount of time passed, but according to the court, by not holding the employee responsible right away the grower gave the impression that the hatchet had been buried already. The grower now has to foot the bill for the court case and the salary of the ex-employee's lawyer.

Read the entire verdict here (in Dutch).


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