December 2016

Cargill Wins Summary Judgment on Eve of Trial

North America - United States | North America | United States - Louisiana

Our firm served as lead trial court and appellate court counsel for the defendant Cargill in obtaining summary judgment (2016 WL 7491851) as to the plaintiffs’ $238 million damages claim on the eve of trial. Cargill and a Cargill joint venture Louisiana Sugar were sued by the plaintiffs for allegedly violating a non-disclosure and non-use agreement. The plaintiffs purportedly planned to develop a heavy crude oil transloading facility on land owned by Louisiana Sugar on the left descending bank of the Mississippi River and a non-disclosure/use agreement was executed in the early stages of the parties’ discussion. The plaintiffs claimed that Cargill terminated the discussions for the purpose of appropriating the plaintiffs’ transloading idea, violating the non-use provisions of the agreement. The plaintiffs’ claims were vigorously disputed, and the matter was set for trial on January 9, 2017. On December 30, 2016, days before trial and after the final pretrial conference, the Court granted Cargill’s motion for partial summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ $238 million lost profits and lost business value claims. The Court held that the plaintiffs had failed to put forth evidence sufficient to prove with reasonable certainty that the plaintiffs’ venture, but for the defendants’ allegedly wrongful conduct, would have been successful and generated profits. The plaintiffs appealed, and the decision was affirmed. See 706 F. App’x 191 (5th Cir. 2017). Peaker Energy Group, LLC, et al., v. Cargill, Incorporated, et al., No. CV 14-2106 (E.D. Louisiana 2016).

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