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Jenson Farms Co. v. Cargill, Inc.
Citation:309 N.W.2d 285 (Minn. 1981).
Warren operated a grain elevator with which it bought and stored grain for farmers. In 1964, Warren applied for financing from Cargill. Cargill agreed to loan Warren money for working capital with the original loan amount being $175,000. Proceeds from Warren’s sales were to be deposited with Cargill and credited against Warren’s account. Cargill also was given a right of first refusal to purchase grain sold by Warren. The parties negotiated a new contract in 1967, extending Warren’s credit line to $300,000. The new contract provided provisions for Cargill to inspect Warren’s financial statements and books. Warren also could not make repairs or improvements greater than $5,000 without Cargill’s consent or encumber any of its assets without Cargill’s consent. After an on-site inspection by Cargill, it was determined that Warren was in need of “strong paternal guidance.” In 1970, Cargill continued to express concerns about Warren’s increased use of funds; however, in 1972, it increased Warren’s credit line to $750,000 and again in 1976 to $1,250,000. By 1976, approximately 90% of Warren’s cash grain was shipped to Cargill. In 1973, Cargill began more rigorous oversight of Warren’s operations and by 1975 it kept a daily debit position on Warren. In April 1977, an audit revealed that Warren was $4 million in debt and had falsified its financial statements. Cargill thereafter refused Warren’s requests for additional financing. At the time Warren ceased operations it was indebted to Cargill in the amount of $3.6 million and to the plaintiffs in the amount of $2 million.
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