Grain cooperative seeks settlement with adjacent landowner

By The Louisiana Record | Apr 24, 2015

A Minnesota business brought a lawsuit against a firm seeking property rights compliance.

CHS Inc. of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., an energy, grain and foods cooperative, filed against Plaquemines Holdings LLC of Livingston, La., on April 14 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

CHS owns and operates a grain elevator, ship dock and related facilities on the Mississippi River commonly known as the Myrtle Grove elevator, exporting grains and other commodities, according to the lawsuit.

According to court documents, the plaintiff’s predecessor-in-title, ConAgra Inc., entered into an agreement with a landowner granting certain construction rights on the land adjacent to the Myrtle Grove elevator. The building rights agreement conveyed with the succession of CHS but to date no dock has been constructed.

The defendant, a real estate holdings company, submitted several dock designs. Its first, in April 2012, would have blocked access to the plaintiff’s facility. Its subsequent designs, submitted in February 2013, are alleged not to have complied with the agreement and were denied by the court based on its failure to gain CHS’s approval beforehand, according to the filing.

The complaint states that the plaintiff asked the defendant to consider an alternate solution and provided a preliminary engineering survey on Feb. 27, 2015. The defendant rejected the proposal on March 3 and an attempt to compromise on March 12 failed.

Having offered accommodations to Plaquemines Holdings, CHS claims it is entitled to declaratory judgment requiring the defendant to accept the alternate plan for its construction, and requests the court to bar the defendant from constructing a dock in the original service area.

The plaintiff seeks general and equitable damages plus attorney’s fees, expenses and costs. The firm is represented by Andrew Lee and Mark Mintz of Jones Walker, New Orleans.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana case no. 2:15-cv-01198-JTM-DEK.

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