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By Mikkel Pates, Published April 12 2013

CHS versus Anderson Seed jury trial set in fall

MENTOR, Minn. – A lawsuit by CHS Inc. in Minnesota may eventually offer a window into precisely what made Anderson Seed Inc. fail.

CHS, based in Inver Grove Heights, is suing the defunct Anderson Seed of Mentor for $1.4 million on behalf of CHS Midwest Cooperatives of Pierre, S.D., which sold sunflower seed to Anderson Seed and its processing plant in Redfield, S.D.

Among other things, CHS is asking to “pierce the corporate veil” and hold company president Ron Anderson and his daughter, Stephanie, the company’s manager, personally responsible for the claims.

The Andersons and their lawyer have worked to block some of CHS’ inquiries and deny that the Andersons should be personally responsible for the corporate debts.

The case was filed a few days after Anderson Seed was declared insolvent and assets sold in February 2012. The case initially had been scheduled to go to a court trial before Minnesota District Judge Kurt Marben on April 15 in Crookston, but that date was canceled and a four-day jury trial is set for Nov. 18-21.

Anderson declined to discuss the case but acknowledged he and his family had been “battered down” by the events. He said he is in the process of liquidating unspecified assets but didn’t elaborate on what that might mean for CHS or for farmers and other creditors.

Legumex Walker Inc., a Winnipeg, Man.-based grains company, bought St. Hilaire (Minn.) Seed and some assets of Anderson Seed.