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AGRICULTURE & FOOD

As companies in today’s agriculture and biotechnology industries develop products and methods to improve the world’s food supply, they face constant change brought on by advances in research and development and new regulatory standards. Developments in bioenergy production and use, biosecurity legislation, new international trade rules, pesticide legislation, and advances in genomics, plant growth factors and transgenic plants, for example, have a tremendous impact on the these industries. Businesses involved in agriculture must also deal with a complex set of laws and regulations governing nearly every aspect of the life cycle of their products.

We have assembled a group of attorneys, scientific advisers and patent agents, many with advanced degrees, who understand the science driving the industry, communicate new regulations and industry trends to clients, and know the dynamics of the business. They counsel companies on the regulation and litigation of a wide spectrum of agriculture-related issues, including product distribution, especially via railway and barge; seed trait stewardship; GMO-related issues; seed law, including matters under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA); environmental law, including the Federal Insecticide Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); patent law; commercial law; and product liability law.

Our lawyers, advisers and agents have decades of combined experience handling agricultural matters in the context of intellectual property, including PVPA and patent issues, environmental matters including FIFRA, commercial finance, product distribution and transportation, and product liability. Our litigators are highly experienced in handling agricultural and biotechnology-related disputes.

We can help protect our clients—and the significant amount of time and resources they invest in their efforts—as they conduct research, follow regulatory processes, and bring their products to the marketplace. Our agriculture clients are involved in every facet of the industry, from genomics to chemical and fertilizer development, to food production and transportation.

Case Studies

Securing global trademark protections for PowerBar

We represented an agribusiness owner of large hog farms in north Missouri in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit by individuals claiming nuisance and personal injury from insects and odors associated with the farms. The firm won a favorable result at trial in the City of St. Louis. Approximately half the plaintiffs received no award, while the remaining plaintiffs were awarded an amount well below the plaintiffs' demand.

Thompson Coburn represented Bunge North America, Inc., the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, in negotiating the terms of its minority investment in and strategic relationship with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG), the biodiesel industry leader and a full-service biodiesel company. Bunge’s investment was part of a $100 million private equity financing involving multiple strategic partners and investors. The firm also negotiated the terms under which Bunge would supply REG with raw materials, risk management and logistics expertise.

Our attorneys recently represented a manufacturing company at trial in a patent and unfair competition case in the Central District of Illinois. We took over representation of the company from another firm and litigated the matter through trial.

We have handled several acquisitions for a global baking ingredients business, as well as substantial contract and general corporate work. We also have handled issues for the business with respect to importing raw materials from Cuba.

We represented a supplier of processed food products and ingredients in an acquisition of coconut operations in the Philippines. We also have done general corporate work for the client, including all of their distribution and warehouse agreements and tax issues.

We successfully defended a baking industry client against potential class claims brought by independent owner/operators asserting various claims for breach of contract, fraud, ERISA and payroll taxes.

We handled $30 million in sales of restaurants to franchisees for a large national operator of quick-service and fast-casual dining restaurant brands. We also handled their operational real estate issues, including disputes and condemnations and purchases and sales of restaurants and other properties.

We have represented a large manufacturer and distributor of soda products nationally in its ERISA litigation since 2000. We have defended the company in litigation pending in California, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

We represent an international operator of bakery-cafés in all of their employee benefits-related matters. In the past, we have acted as the company’s dedicated outside corporate counsel in reviewing and negotiating many of their vendor contracts.

Publications

Amendments to Chapter 12 make it easier for a family farmer to reorganize

Supreme Court heralds tectonic shift in venue selection for patent suits

What to do when the government comes calling: A checklist for handling facility inspections

USPTO launches new proof of use audit program

Environmental deregulation under President Trump: Business as usual?

5 tips for environmental due diligence in business transactions

Missouri to join Right to Work ranks: Is the fight over or just warming up?

Court rejects contractor’s mechanic’s lien because of ‘intent’

Are HR employees ‘investment advisors’ under the DOL’s fiduciary rule?

California expands pay equity, limits pay stub requirements

Nevada case a reminder to foreign entities: Protect your due process rights when served

What U.S. companies need to know about their IP rights post-Brexit

U.K. now requires supply chain transparency on human trafficking risks

Doing business in California or the UK? You may be required to be a watchdog for human trafficking

Proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger presents a charitable planning opportunity

New Illinois law prohibits non-competition agreements with low-wage employees

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

U.S. Department of Labor issues final rule updating overtime regulations

New OSHA reporting and anti-retaliation rules

Shippers, are you ready for SOLAS’ verified container weight mandate?

Government contractors must address domestic trafficking

CFTC rule change brings record-keeping relief for commodity dealers and end-users

And on that farm he had a drone: UAS deployment in precision agriculture

FAA grants exemption for large crop-spraying unmanned aircraft

Supreme Court overturns EPA’s 'Tailoring Rule,' upholds GHG BACT for 'anyway' sources

TC helps establish precedent on reexamination estoppel

Blog Posts

Will big beverage, Canadian legislation tilt U.S. closer to federal legalization?

The USDA’s bioengineered food disclosure standard: Where are we now?

9th Circuit rejects argument that ‘No Added Sugar’ means ‘healthy’

FSVP compliance dates arrive, challenges to food industry increase

Downstream drama: Iowa utility can’t recover damages from county drainage districts

FDA sanitary transport rule impacts railroads, other shippers

Food industry sees one of first whistleblower suits under FSMA

Ag and drones – What do you need to know?

Update: GMO labeling regs are back in limbo

What the FDA has in store for the food industry in 2017

TCLE

Statutory Changes, New Regulations, and Compliance Deadlines Under the Food Safety Modernization Act

News

Liz Blackwell elected to American Law Institute’s class of 2017

Missouri Court of Appeals rules for Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council

Agribusiness professionals enjoy hands-on farm simulation at Thompson Coburn

Thompson Coburn leads Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council to $600,000 jury verdict

Updated trade compliance materials now available

Closing the food gap in D.C. and L.A.

Thompson Coburn earns corporate counsel recommendations five years running in national report

Sixth Circuit rules cows can be leased

Jason Schwent, Kelly Simon named 2014 Up & Coming attorneys

Fred Strasheim featured in Law360 ‘Dealmakers’ series

Chemical Safety Board investigator shares insights from two high-profile environmental incidents

27 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2014 Chambers USA

Jim Slear leads webinar on ‘Navigating the Russian and Ukrainian Sanctions Maze’

Krissa Lubben, Mark Sableman named 2014 Lexology Client Choice Award winners

Steve Ritchey publishes article on patent basics for American Ceramic Society

Jeff Masson named ‘Influential Appellate Advocate’ for Monsanto Supreme Court win

Ryan Kemper, Thompson Coburn environmental practice featured in St. Louis Lawyer

Three partners named 2013 Up & Coming attorneys

Cliff Godiner, Hope Abramov to dissect a modern labor dispute at SHRM annual conference

Monsanto wins unanimous ruling from U.S. Supreme Court

Eric E. Boyd joins Thompson Coburn's Environmental Group

19 Thompson Coburn partners named 2013 St. Louis Lawyers of the Year

Jeff Masson featured in AgProfessional magazine

Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6496

A partner in the Labor and Employment practice area, Hope's extensive labor and employment practice is bolstered by her experiences as an in-house attorney for more than ...

A partner in the Labor and Employment practice area, Hope's extensive labor...

Hope Abramov
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6420

Liz represents consumer product manufacturers in high-stakes product liability and false advertising litigation in state and federal courts across the country.

Liz represents consumer product manufacturers in high-stakes product liabil...

Liz Blackwell
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6408

Matt represents major agricultural companies in business-critical disputes involving technology licensing, distribution channels, grain channeling, genetic testing, and p...

Matt represents major agricultural companies in business-critical disputes ...

Matt Bober
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6546

Senator Bond draws on his distinguished record of public service to represent clients on matters related to international trade, economic development, biotechnology, agri...

Senator Bond draws on his distinguished record of public service to represe...

Kit Bond
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6099

Kim is a passionate advocate for food, beverage, and agriculture clients in high-stakes business disputes.

Kim is a passionate advocate for food, beverage, and agriculture clients in...

Kim Bousquet
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6106

Matt litigates all forms of intellectual property.

Matt litigates all forms of intellectual property.

Matt Braunel
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6551

Heather defends clients facing consumer products claims and commercial litigation.

Heather defends clients facing consumer products claims and comme...

Heather Counts
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6139

Dan handles various types of complex litigation, including business, tort, product liability, intellectual property, and class action defense.

Dan handles various types of complex litigation, including business, tort, ...

Dan Cox
Senior Patent Agent
St. Louis
314 552 6348

Wendy focuses her work with Firm clients on patent prosecution in biotechnology and life sciences, especially in the fields of plant genetics and plant biochemistry.

Wendy focuses her work with Firm clients on patent prosecution in biotechno...

Wendy Davis, Ph.D.
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6520

Lisa advocates for clients facing complex product liability and personal injury litigation.

Lisa advocates for clients facing complex product liability and personal in...

Lisa DeBord
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6433

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises executives and HR leaders on all aspects of employment litigation and labor disputes.

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises ...

Cliff Godiner
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6049

Ed is a veteran litigator and head of the Firm's Antitrust Practice Group.

Ed is a veteran litigator and head of the Firm's Antitrust Practice Group.

Ed Harvey
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6159

Chris leads complex litigation and class action defense for a host of major corporations in the financial services and agriculture industries.

Chris leads complex litigation and class action defense for a host of major...

Chris Hohn
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6512

Wil has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and experience as research scientist working for a major biotechnology company.

Wil has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and experience as research ...

Wil Holtz, Ph.D.
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6304

David represents clients in a variety of intellectual property disputes, including patent prosecution, trademark, non-infringement and freedom to operate opinions.

David represents clients in a variety of intellectual property disputes, in...

David Jinkins
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6389

Krissa practices human resources law, focusing on the representation of employers in employment litigation and client counseling.

Krissa practices human resources law, focusing on the representation of emp...

Krissa Lubben
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6429

Jeff is a litigator and ag insider who works with the country's largest agribusinesses to develop effective litigation strategies on a national and global scale.

Jeff is a litigator and ag insider who works with the country's largest agr...

Jeff Masson
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6421

Manoo serves as a strategist for high-stakes litigation, tapping his well-honed research and writing skills to craft motions and briefs that help clients navigate thorny ...

Manoo serves as a strategist for high-stakes litigation, tapping his well-h...

Manoo Mofidi
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6547

Jonathan's practice includes nearly every aspect of intellectual property litigation.

Jonathan's practice includes nearly every aspect of intellectual property l...

Jonathan Musch
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6086

Jack tries complex cases involving intellectual property, product liability and commercial issues before various state and federal courts.

Jack tries complex cases involving intellectual property, product liability...

Jack Musgrave
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6331

Tom provides strategic intellectual property counseling to some of the world's largest consumer products companies, with a focus on IP portfolio management, licensing and...

Tom provides strategic intellectual property counseling to some of the worl...

Tom Polcyn
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6095

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor to private and public sector employers across a wide spectrum of industries.

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor t...

Chuck Poplstein
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6577

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and labor law.

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and l...

Cody Reinberg
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6232

Steve advises clients on domestic and international patent applications and provides comprehensive counsel on licensing and technology transfer.

Steve advises clients on domestic and international patent applications and...

Steve Ritchey
Senior Patent Agent
St. Louis
314 552 6255

Charley draws on his 14 years of biotech industry experience and doctorate in biochemistry to serve clients in the biotech industry and university sectors.

Charley draws on his 14 years of biotech industry experience and docto...

Charley Romano, Ph.D.
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2224

Diane helps life sciences companies develop new products and bring them to market while proactively addressing the regulatory land mines that can delay or destroy the pat...

Diane helps life sciences companies develop new products and bring them to ...

Diane Romza-Kutz
Associate
Chicago
312 580 5060

Fred counsels clients in the life science and technology industries on a broad range of FDA and USDA regulatory compliance, data privacy and breach response matters and r...

Fred counsels clients in the life science and technology industries on a br...

Fredric Roth V
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2229

Todd helps businesses solve some of their thorniest problems.

Todd helps businesses solve some of their thorniest problems.

Todd Rowden
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6100

Carl is a first-chair trial lawyer whose cases and verdicts have been covered by The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, The New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg News, C...

Carl is a first-chair trial lawyer whose cases and verdicts have been cover...

Carl Rowley
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6291

Jason's practice is centered on technology with an emphasis on cybersecurity breach response and software and intellectual property licensing.

Jason's practice is centered on technology with an emphasis on cybersecurit...

Jason Schwent, CIPP/US
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6560

Steve assists clients in a variety of litigation matters in state and federal courts.

Steve assists clients in a variety of litigation matters in state and feder...

Steve Shredl
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter Strassner
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3411

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and railroad injury cases in some of the most difficult jurisdictions in the country.

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and ...

Erick VanDorn
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6079

David is a 30-year veteran of the financial restructuring world who provides practical, straight-forward advice to all types of institutions that interact with a distress...

David is a 30-year veteran of the financial restructuring world who provide...

David Warfield
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6350

Sue represents product manufacturers facing high-exposure suits in courtrooms across the country.

Sue represents product manufacturers facing high-exposure suits in courtroo...

Sue Werstak