IN THE HIGH COURT OF MALAWI
LILONGWE DISTRICT REGISTRY
CIVIL CAUSE No. 581 OF 2003
I.T. NYAUDE (MRS.) .. PLAINTIFF
NJIMANGO TRADING . . DEFENDNAT
Coram: T. R. Ligowe: Assistant Registrar
Rex Mapila : Counsel for the Plaintiff
Mlenga : Court Clerk/ Interpreter
ORDER ON ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES
The plaintiff in this entered a default judgment against the defendant for the defendant to pay the plaintiff for;
Loss of 50 broiler chicks;
Loss of anticipated profits from 150 broiler chicks that were malnourished;
Loss of value of 5 bags of broiler starter at MK1 344.50 each totaling MK6 722.50;
Cumulative interest on items(a) to (c) at the commercial lending rate; and
Costs of the action.
The background to the matter as pleaded in the statement of claim is that at all material times the defendant manufactured chicken feed including broiler growers marsh starter and finisher. On 8th August 2002 the plaintiff bought growers marsh from the defendant to feed her stock of chicks. She bought 3 bags of broiler starter marsh, 5 bags of broiler growers marsh and 2 bags of broiler finisher marsh at the price of K13 445.00 and 200 broiler one day old chicks. The plaintiff suffered a high mortality rate and stunted growth in the stock of the chicken. She sought expert assistance from Malawi Bureau of Standards, a body corporate established under the Malawi Bureau of Standards Act (Cap 51:02) of the Laws of Malawi. The chicken feed supplied was found to be of sub standard. Because of the low quality of the product the plaintiff suffered loss and damage. Thus she brought this action. This is the assessment of the damages.
The defendants did not attend the hearing on the dated appointed to assess damages despite having been duly served with the notice. No communication having been given for their non attendance, the court proceeded in their absence.
The plaintiff testified confirming what she had pleaded in her statement of claim. She particularly noticed that the chickens were not eating the feed as they should have. 50 of the 200 chickens she had bought died and she sold the rest at K150 instead of K230. After she had realized the feeds were sub standard she returned 5 bags but she was not repaid for them. Each bag was costing K1 250.
From the evidence given above 50 chickens died which would have been sold at K230 each. The plaintiff lost K11 500. The 150 chickens that lived were sold at K150 instead of K230 making a loss of K80 on each. Thus the plaintiff lost K12 400 on them. The 5 bags that were returned but not repaid cost K6 250 in total. The total of all her losses is therefore K29 750. The plaintiff is hereby awarded K29 750 in damages.
The judgment included interest at the commercial lending rate. Interest is awarded to a plaintiff not as compensation for the damage done but for being kept out of money which ought to have been paid to him. (Per Lord Herschell L.C. in London, Chatham and Dover Ry. Co v. South Eastern Ry. Co.  A.C. 429. This principle is more easily applied to a debt or a particular expense which the defendant ought to have made good, than to unascertained damages in relation to which it is difficult to say when the money ought to have been paid. Interest therefore will not be granted.
Made in chambers this .. day of September 2005.