Business Sues Over Loss of Pricey Sperm, Embryos

     (CN) – A family business that preserves bull semen and cow embryos sued its liquid nitrogen provider over what it claims is $4 million worth of ruined bovine genetic material.
     In a complaint filed in Wilmington, D.C., plaintiffs Dexter and Nicholas Edwards claim that defendant Genex Cooperative Inc. of Wisconsin failed to deliver liquid nitrogen, which was necessary to preserve cattle embryos and semen for reproduction.
     These were no ordinary embryos, though, and the semen, too, was special, the plaintiffs say.
     Their business, Edwards Land & Cattle, focuses on purebred reproduction, collecting “genetically elite semen from prize bulls and genetically elite embryos from prize cows.”
     The stored genetic material is used to produce “super-elite” offspring, and part of the process involves storage at sub-freezing temperatures – hence, the need for liquid nitrogen.
     For years, Genex Cooperative had delivered liquid nitrogen to the Edwards operation, filling the tanks every 16 to 20 weeks, according to the complaint.
     In September 2015, a letter arrived from Genex stating that the company would no longer fill the tanks, according to the complaint.
     The Edwards say the letter claimed a final delivery had taken place on Aug. 31, but they contend no liquid nitrogen arrived that day.
     “As a result of the defendant’s failure to deliver the nitrogen, some tanks became completely empty while others were virtually empty, resulting in the elite semen and embryos being destroyed or contaminated, and thus, useless,” the complaint says.
     Some of the lost genetic material came from prize sires and dams that have since died, rendering the damages irreparable and difficult to calculate, the plaintiffs said.
     The plaintiffs say they lost semen and embryos from seven tanks, immediately costing the business more than $502,000 and prospectively adding up to $3 million or $4 million. They are seeking damages equivalent to the loss on claims of breach of contract and negligence.
     The plaintiffs are represented by E.C. Thompson of Thompson & Thompson, P.C. in Warsaw, N.C.
     Representatives of the parties could not be reached for comment.

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