By James Atkinson
A bottling company has won damages and legal costs of $1.83 million from the supplier of faulty bottles that were found to contain glass fragments.
Beverage manufacturing company Fryer Holdings, which is now in liquidation, took Chinese company MEC Group to the NSW Supreme Court claiming MEC had supplied goods that were not fit for purpose or of merchantable quality.
The court heard that Fryer bought a bottle-washing line and bottling line from MEC Group, which also supplied Fryer with glass bottles sourced in China.
In November 2008, Fryer received six complaints from consumers that glass fragments had been found in soft drinks it had bottled using the goods and equipment supplied by MEC.
Justice Robert McDougall found that the most likely cause was that the bottles were defective.
"It is inherently likely that if bottles are manufactured with walls thinner than required, and with walls of uneven thickness, then the process of applying mechanical and pneumatic force to them in the bottling process would lead to failures of the kind observed," he said.
"I am satisfied that the implied warranty of fitness for purpose has been breached."
In a decision handed down on January 30, he ordered MEC Group to pay Fryer $1.4 million for loss of profit, as well as Fryer's legal costs of $430,000 – $1.83 million in total.