September 2012

Cargill Obtains Judgment, Directed Verdict

North America - United States | North America | United States - Nebraska

Our firm served as lead trial counsel for the plaintiff Cargill in obtaining a $300,000 judgment and directed verdict as to a $1.2 million counterclaim. The defendant H&M Farms Inc. contracted to purchase 2010 crop inputs from Cargill and failed to remit payment, claiming that the inputs, including certain fertilizer products, were defective or were improperly applied by Cargill, causing substantial damages to the H&M operation. Cargill filed suit first, and H&M responded with a counterclaim seeking over $1.2 million in damages. The principal issue in the case was the defendants’ claim that Cargill’s fertilizer application resulted in manganese toxicity. The court denied Cargill’s Daubert motion to exclude H&M’s causation experts and denied a subsequent request for a pre-trial Rule 104 hearing as to expert issues. During the two-week trial, however, the court sustained Cargill’s in-trial question-by-question objections to the defendants’ experts, including a University of Nebraska professor, which prevented the experts from testifying as to causation for the manganese toxicity theory. With no expert support for the counterclaim, the court granted Cargill’s motion for directed verdict on it (2012 WL 4473088). The jury returned a verdict for Cargill, and the court entered a judgment for $301,592.73. Cargill, Inc., v. Kurt Kroeger et al., No. 8:11CV81 (D.NE. 2012).

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