Ridley Inc.

Ridley Inc.

June 05, 2006 09:43 ET

Update on BSE Lawsuits Against Ridley Inc. and Government of Canada

MANKATO, MINNESOTA and WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - June 5, 2006) - Ridley Inc. (TSX:RCL) (www.ridleyinc.com) has previously disclosed that four lawsuits were commenced in April 2005 against Ridley Inc. and the Government of Canada in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. The lawsuits each seek damages, including punitive damages, for losses allegedly incurred by Canadian cattle farmers as a result of international bans on the importation of Canadian beef and cattle following the May 2003 announcement of a bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) diagnosis in an Alberta cow. The plaintiff in the Saskatchewan action previously moved to stay his lawsuit pending further decisions by the Ontario Court. The Alberta action has also not progressed since it was filed.

Ridley was granted leave to appeal the Ontario Superior Court ruling that had denied Ridley's motion for early dismissal of the Ontario claims, in April 2006. Ridley believes that the denial conflicts with Supreme Court of Canada case law and other appellate court decisions. It is expected that the Ontario Court of Appeals will hear Ridley's appeal in late 2006, at the earliest.

In a decision released June 2nd, Ridley learned that the Quebec Superior Court has denied motions by the Government of Canada and Ridley for a stay of the proposed class action lawsuit filed in the Province of Quebec. Ridley had sought a stay pending determinations of law by the Ontario Court of Appeals in a parallel lawsuit commenced in Ontario. The Quebec court's ruling allows the Quebec case to move forward to the class authorization stage of the proceedings, but the decision does not impact the merits of the case, and it does not affect the actions in any other province. Ridley is considering its options for an appeal of the denial of the stay motion to the Court of Appeals.

In its motion before the Quebec Superior Court, Ridley had requested a stay of the proposed Quebec action, arguing that the Court should exercise its discretion to manage the case efficiently and avoid the possibility of contradictory rulings by the Ontario and Quebec courts. Ridley argued that common law applies to determine what duties if any Ridley might owe to the Quebec plaintiff and the Quebec class. On that basis and because of other connecting factors, Ridley also argued that the Ontario court is the more appropriate forum. Nonetheless, the Quebec Court's judgment on June 2nd held that the plaintiffs identified in the Ontario and Quebec cases are not the same and, therefore, the Quebec case should proceed independently, notwithstanding the progress of the Ontario action.

Ridley continues to pursue early dismissal of the Ontario lawsuit and will continue to aggressively defend against all of the claims as the litigation progresses.

Ridley Inc., headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota and Winnipeg, Manitoba, is one of North America's leading commercial animal nutrition companies. Ridley manufactures and/or distributes a full range of animal nutrition products under a number of highly regarded trade names.

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