Contract Hog Producer Converted Hogs of Supplier.

The defendant raised hogs that he received from the plaintiff via a hog production contract.  The plaintiff paid for the feed, transportation and veterinary services for the hogs and the defendant cared for the hogs until they reached market weight.  The plaintiff paid the defendant a monthly fee for his services, but retained ownership of the hogs.  The defendant accounted for the hogs and unaccounted-for hogs would be charged against the defendant's next monthly payment.  The defendant could only keep the plaintiff's hogs at the facility where they were raised.  The plaintiff was alerted by a third party that inventory counts did not match and some hogs might be missing.  The defendant claimed that some hogs were put in a "slush pen"  rather than being marketed because of slow weight gain, and that no inventory was kept of them.  The following year, the defendant filed bankruptcy and the plaintiff contacted the hog buyer and over 3,000 hogs could not be accounted for based on what had been supplied and what had been marketed.  The defendant claimed the difference was attributable to the defendant also marketing his own hogs at the same time to the buyer.  The plaintiff sued for conversion, and the trial court awarded $290,000 to the plaintiff for the hogs plus interest and $50,000 in punitive damages and court costs.  On appeal, the court affirmed.  The court noted that the defendant's personal income tax returns showed no income from the sale of livestock and no other documentation that would have supported the notion that the defendant was raising his own hogs.  On financial statements provided to his bank, the defendant reported that he had no "market livestock or poultry" and no "breeding stock."  The court also determined that the trial court properly admitted the weekly calendar and farm book that the plaintiff maintained and the summary exhibits that relied on those exhibits.  Pruisner v. Ballhagen, No. 14-1431, 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 912 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 14, 2015).