Dowd Bennett Obtained a Verdict of More than $7.6 Million for Monsanto

Monsanto wins verdict against ConocoPhillips

Dispute over sales agreement led to action

By Anna Vitale, Missouri Lawyers Weekly

A St. Louis County jury awarded Creve Coeur-based Monsanto a verdict of more than $7.6 million June 28 in the company’s suit against Houston-based ConocoPhillips.

According to Monsanto’s petition, Conoco fell short in delivering petroleum coke that was promised in a sales agreement. Petroleum coke is produced during the oil-refining process and is used by Monsanto to make Roundup herbicides.

The sales agreement stated that Conoco was to deliver at least 64,000 short tons of petroleum coke in 2005 and 2006, claimed Monsanto, but Conoco only delivered about 52,500 tons in 2005 and about 30,700 in 2006. In total, that amounts to a shortfall of about 45,000 tons over the two-year period.

Because of the shortfall, Monsanto claimed it had to seek out other, more expensive providers.

In Conoco’s answer, it said Monsanto didn’t inform it of the alleged breach of contract in a timely manner or give it a chance to make right by the agreement.

Monsanto was represented by James Bennett, Gabriel Gore and Jennifer Kingston, of Dowd Bennett in Clayton.

Bob Peirce, a spokesman for Monsanto, said the company was looking forward to continuing to develop Roundup herbicides.

“The jury clearly understood the issues involved when ConocoPhillips did not supply us with the amount of petroleum coke in 2005 and 2006 called for by the contract,” he said in a written statement, “so that we had to purchase the material elsewhere for a higher price.”

Conoco was represented by Jeffrey Parsons, of Beirne Maynard & Parsons in Houston, and John Reynolds, of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt in Clayton, at trial. Parsons did not respond to requests for comment.

Ian P. Cooper, also of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, wrote Conoco’s answer to Monsanto’s petition. He said all media requests should be directed to the company. A message left on ConocoPhillip’s media line was not returned.

$7.6 million jury verdict
Breach of contract

Case Number/Date: 08SL-CC-02002/June 28, 2010
Court: St. Louis County Circuit Court
Judge: John F. Kintz
Plaintiff Expert: Sean Durkin, Chicago (economics)
Caption: Monsanto Co. and P4 Production, LLC v. ConocoPhillips Co.
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: James Bennett, Gabriel Gore and Jennifer Kingston, Dowd Bennett, Clayton
Defendant’s Attorneys: Jeffrey Parsons, Beirne Maynard & Parsons, Houston; John Reynolds and Ian P. Cooper, Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, Clayton

Copyright 2010  Missouri Lawyers Media

Get to know our attorneys

Learn More

Dowd Bennett is a litigation firm with extensive courtroom experience. Led by trial-seasoned lawyers, including former federal prosecutors and judicial law clerks, our team shares tenacity, a passion for seeing cases through trial and a complete commitment to client service.