Cargill pleased with Ohio lawsuit dismissal
State, Cargill and Morton reach settlement
CLEVELAND, Ohio - June 3, 2015 - Cargill said it was pleased that a lawsuit filed against it and Morton Salt by the Ohio Attorney General has been dismissed.
The dismissal came after the state and the two companies reached a settlement. The state had originally sought more than $100 million. Cargill’s share of the settlement is $7.705 million, based on the amount of its salt sales in Ohio relative to Morton Salt. More importantly, the Ohio Attorney General accepts there is no admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Cargill also avoids future litigation costs, which would have been substantial.
“From the time the suit was filed in 2012, we have emphatically denied the allegations,” said Richard Maxfield, president of Cargill Deicing Technology, Cargill’s road salt business. “We have always acted ethically and in line with our guiding principles. The OAG accepts that there is no admission of guilt.”
A jury trial was to begin May 19 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. The Attorney General alleged in its 2012 lawsuit that Cargill and Morton engaged in a conspiracy to divide the Ohio market for government contracts on road salt. The lawsuit was based on a 2011 Ohio Inspector General’s report, but that same document stated that the Inspector General “did not find evidence that (Cargill and Morton) communicated on salt bids.”
Maxfield said that he felt Cargill had a strong case, given the company did nothing wrong. “The price of road salt is determined by the weather and the market fundamentals of supply and demand,” he said. “In the end, agreeing to a settlement was a prudent business decision to avoid further legal costs and get back to the business of making winter driving safer.”
Cargill Deicing Technology is based in North Olmsted, Ohio, and has a rock salt mine in Cleveland, as well as two others in Lansing, N.Y., and Avery Island, La. The mission of the business is to provide customers with deicing solutions that save lives, enhance commerce and reduce environmental impact. The business employs about 275 people in Ohio. Other Cargill businesses employ another 1,300 in the state.
Mark Klein, (952) 742-6211, [email protected]
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 152,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.