January 2018

Cargill Wins Major Jury Verdict and Treble Judgment Under RICO Act

United States - North Carolina

Faegre Baker Daniels served as lead trial counsel for plaintiff Cargill in obtaining a $35.2 million jury verdict and a trebled $111 million judgment. Cargill purchased food packaging products and related services from the defendant ,WDS, a provider of warehousing and distribution services. WDS was founded and managed by the defendants, Jennifer Maier and Brian Ewert. WDS, directed by Maier and Ewert, charged prices in purchase orders generated throughout the course of the parties’ relationship that exceeded the markup provided for in the Cargill-WDS 2009, 2012 and 2015 agreements, and WDS, Ewert and Maier took actions to misrepresent and conceal the actual markup charged. After a seven-day, chess clock-managed trial, the jury found all defendants liable for conversion, fraud and conspiracy to defraud Cargill or engage in commercial bribery that damaged Cargill. The jury found Ewert liable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) § 1962(a) and (c), and both Ewert and Maier liable under RICO § 1962(d). The jury found WDS liable for breach of contract. The jury also found that all defendants misrepresented to Cargill the markup charged; falsified business records, including invoices and alleged agreements, to further their misrepresentation to Cargill; and engaged in commercial bribery. The Court concluded the conduct violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. On each claim, the jury concluded Cargill was entitled to recover $35,177,269. The Court trebled the verdict and with interest, costs and fees, entered a judgment of $111,173,491.51. An appeal is pending. The post-trial order is available at 2018 WL 1525352. Cargill, Inc. et al. v. WDS, Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-00848-FDW-DSC (W.D.N.C. 2018).

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