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Red Stripe settles beer lawsuit

Published:Tuesday | May 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMMcPherse Thompson
The Red Stripe Jamaica brewery in Kingston.

Desnoes & Geddes Limited, which trades as Red Stripe Jamaica, has settled a lawsuit with an octogenarian farmer who sued the company for negligence on allegations he became ill after consuming a bottle of Red Stripe beer.

The brewery disclosed the settlement after the release of a Supreme Court judgment that blocked its manoeuvre for the farmer to put up $1 million as security for the brewer's costs in the lawsuit.

"The matter is no longer in existence and has been resolved by both parties with no admission of liability on the part of D&G," said Red Stripe's Head of Corporate Affairs, Dianne Ashton-Smith, after the Financial Gleaner reached out to the company for comment on the court's decision.

The brewery had denied wrongdoing in the lawsuit filed August 2010 by Byron Green, who was a 75 year-old farmer at the time. Red Stripe also challenged the results of lab tests in its defence filed in June 2011, saying the certificate failed to identify the brand of beer submitted or the batch code printed on the bottle, and revealed chemicals neither used nor stored by the company.

In denying Red Stripe's request for Green to put up the $1 million, Justice Andrew Rattray accepted that it would have constrained the farmer in pursuing his case against the brewery.

Red Stripe had argued that Green is ordinarily resident outside of Jamaica; the company was unaware of any assets that he owned locally; and that should it win the case, the brewery was concerned it would not be able to recover its costs from the farmer.

However, Green cited an address in May Pen, Clarendon, which he said has been his family home for more than 20 years.

Precision Adjusters Limited, a private investigation company which was hired to determine whether Green lives in Jamaica, had determined that the farmer was living abroad. However, Justice Rattray rejected that evidence.

Green was represented by attorney Lenroy Stewart, while Jordan Chin appeared for the brewery.

Ashton-Smith did not respond to queries on the terms of the settlement with Green. The Supreme Court civil registry advised that the matter was discontinued on April 11, before the judgment was delivered, due to the settlement. However, the case does not reflect terms of the settlement, the registry said.