In a case brought by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) and Mid-America Research and Development Foundation (MRDF) to protect Missouri soybean farmers’ investments in soybean research under the soybean checkoff program, a unanimous jury returned a verdict and an award of $602,945 in favor of MSMC and MRDF, and against AgBorn Genetics, LLC, in the case of Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council & Mid-America Research & Development Foundation v. AgBorn Genetics, LLC, Case No. 1416-CV12453, in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, at Kansas City.
“This is such an important case for soybean farmers,” said Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council chairman and Lafayette County soybean farmer David Lueck. “We take our responsibility to manage growers’ soybean checkoff dollars very seriously and will continue to take any necessary steps to ensure farmers receive the benefit of their investments in the checkoff. There’s no excuse for anything less.”
The unanimous jury found that MSMC and MRDF were entitled to $602,945, not including interest and costs, from AgBorn Genetics based on royalties owed for undisclosed and unreported sales of MSMC’s soybean seed technologies and for unpaid and bounced royalty checks issued by AgBorn Genetics, signed by its general manager Alex Stemme. AgBorn Genetics was a company formed by Stemme and William J. Cook of Garden City, Missouri.
Earlier in the case, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of MSMC and MRDF on their claims to invalidate two agreements that AgBorn Genetics claimed to be valid contracts. The Court ruled that both alleged contracts were void and unenforceable. These rulings confirm that AgBorn Genetics has no rights to MSMC’s soybean seed technologies. The Court also previously sanctioned AgBorn Genetics in the amount of $59,167.61 for its “abuse of the discovery process and its violation of the Court’s Orders.”
These judgments confirm MSMC’s concerted and ongoing efforts to defend and enforce the Missouri soybean farmers’ rights to all their soybean seed technologies developed through checkoff investments.
MSMC, headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, is a farmer-run organization dedicated to improving the profitability of the Missouri soybean farmer through a combination of marketing, research and commercialization programs, supported by the soybean checkoff paid by Missouri soybean farmers. MSMC and MRDF were represented at trial and throughout the case by Thompson Coburn LLP, with Todd A. Rowden and Christopher M. Hohn serving as lead trial counsel.
To learn more about the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and soybean checkoff, visit mosoy.org.