Agriculture and Food Products Litigation and Dispute Resolution

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The goal of every agribusiness is to conduct business in a manner that results in few disputes and losses resulting from the actions of business partners or government enforcement. Despite this goal, agribusinesses of any significant size realize that commercial disputes or governmental enforcement actions or inquiries are simply part of operating in the agribusiness industry. When commercial disputes or enforcement inquiries or actions inevitably face an agribusiness, it is important to address such disputes with the requisite attention and expertise to provide the company or operation with the best possibility for a good result.

Kutak Rock represents agricultural enterprises across the spectrum of legal issues and judicial and regulatory proceedings affecting them, from multimillion-dollar litigation involving environmental claims, the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), breach of contract claims, product liability claims, to litigation involving mergers and joint ventures and other financial and real estate transactions involving cooperatives, farm corporations and farm partnerships.

In addition to significant experience in state and federal courtrooms across the county, our attorneys have practiced before the United States Department of Agriculture, the Farm Credit Administration and other state and federal agencies that oversee agriculture. Our agribusiness team includes a former United States Senator who was a member of the United States Senate Agriculture Committee and who served as a presidentially appointed trade advisor representing the United States in its agricultural trade negotiations in key multilateral as well as bilateral trade worldwide.

Kutak Rock’s commercial litigation experience in serving agriculture clients includes:

  • Defending a large regional swine processor in connection with claims brought by a large corporate livestock producer seeking tens of millions in damages for alleged violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act, fraud, breach of contract, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and other similar claims.  Our firm’s client brought a counterclaim for breach of contract, and after nearly two weeks of trial, the case settled very favorably for our client.
  • Representing a fertilizer manufacturer in a class-action lawsuit claiming fertilizer did not work as warranted.  Negotiated a very favorable settlement for our client.
  • Representing a fertilizer manufacturer in a breach of warranty case claiming defective fertilizer.
  • Representing a fertilizer manufacturer in a misappropriation of trade secret action.
  • Prosecuting breach of contract and other claims for a Fortune 200 packer involving breach of hog carcass contracts.
  • Prosecuting an unjust enrichment claim against a livestock finance, management and ownership company involving failure to pay feed bills for hogs owned by the company.
  • Prosecuting a RICO claim against a swine importer that our client alleged violated federal regulations by importing diseased swine. Shortly after filing the complaint, the case settled under terms very favorable to our client.
  • Representing a Fortune 200 packer in litigation relating to the sanitary and improvement districts associated with certain packing plants.
  • Representing a large insurance client with regard to claims under a livestock insurance policy related to alleged losses due to a weather event.  The claim was favorably settled at trial for the client.
  • Serving as defense counsel to senior corporate executives in a federal investigation relating to a national recall of allegedly contaminated beef.
  • Representing multiple agribusinesses in claims relating to biogenetically modified corn products.
  • Representing a Fortune 200 packer in a dispute with a state’s branding commission regarding the commission’s practices associated with the enforcement of the state’s branding laws.
  • Representing a Fortune 200 packer in a dispute relating to hog carcass contracts.
  • Representing a Fortune 200 packer in a dispute relating to a dispute involving warehousing of meat and problems associated with meat exports.
  • Representing a Fortune 200 agribusiness in various matters involving complex personal injury cases.
  • Representing a large agricultural supply company in mass torts claims involving alleged fertilizer contamination.
  • Representing one of the world’s largest agribusiness companies in tax credit matters regarding U.S. ethanol plant acquisitions.
  • Representing a Swiss grain merchandising firm regarding certain trade issues requiring the support of key members of Congress and the Administration in Washington.
  • Representing a farm credit bank in certain matters before the congressional agricultural committees.
  • Representing large agribusiness with regard to grain explosion litigation.
  • Representing a landowner regarding property line dispute involving 120 years of adverse possession upon mistaken property line fencing installed in the late 1800s.
  • Defending large Fortune 500 agribusiness with regard to personal injury action relating to purported injury in a chemical plant.