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Friday, 20 October 2017 13:10

Judge removes Boersen Farms from receivership as plaintiff moves to dismiss lawsuit

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ZEELAND — Boersen Farms Inc., the Zeeland-based farming company that flirted with bankruptcy, is no longer under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker discharged O’Keefe & Associates LLC as the court-appointed receiver for the financially troubled company.  The discharge came after the plaintiffs at Zeeland-based LT Capital LLC moved to dismiss the case.

In August, Minnesota-based CHS Capital LLC originally filed the federal lawsuit against Boersen Farms alleging that the company owed more than $145 million for outstanding unpaid balances. But last week, the court approved CHS transferring its interest in Boersen’s unpaid debts to LT Capital.

The new plaintiff, LT Capital, then said that it would pursue a voluntary dismissal of the case “without prejudice and without costs or attorney fees to any party,” according to documents filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

“Given the intention of Plaintiff LT Capital, LLC and the Defendants to dismiss this case and terminate the Receiver, the sole purpose for which the Receiver was appointed and authorized has become moot,” Robert Mollhagen, an attorney at Varnum LLP representing O’Keefe & Associates, wrote in a motion on Oct. 18.

The court had placed Boersen Farm into receivership on Sept. 13. On Sept. 22, the court cleared the way for the receiver to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Boersen Farms and its related entities. However, receiver O’Keefe & Associates said both parties in the case contacted the firm on Sept. 29 asking it to “temporarily hold off on the filing of Ch. 11 petitions.”

The registered agent for LT Capital is Brian Terborg, the CFO at Zeeland Farm Services Inc. Terborg did not respond to a request for comment at the time this report went to press.

As MiBiz reported last week, agricultural giant Monsanto Co. is also suing Boersen Farms for breach of contract after it failed to pay for more than $2.3 million in corn and soybean seeds it bought for the 2016 growing season.

The lawsuit filed Oct. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri alleges that Boersen Farms purchased seed from its Crop Production Services (CPS) distributor in March 2016, missed the payment deadline that year and “has been unjustly enriched and obtained profits that in equity and good conscience belong to Monsanto.” Monsanto is demanding Boersen repay the outstanding balance, plus 1.5 percent interest per month since it missed the payment, as well as damages, “reasonable attorney fees and collection costs.”  

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Joe Boomgaard

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jboomgaard@mibiz.com

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