Scruggses lose bid for new patent trial

By Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Mitchell and Eddie Scruggs owe ag giant Monsanto Co. $8.9 million damages, a U.S. District court judge says.

The Scruggses sought to appeal a 2010 jury’s decision against them over patent infringements covering hybrid seeds, which Monsanto developed.

Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills upheld the jury verdict, although last September he denied Monsanto’s motion for triple damages.

Defendants in the 2000 lawsuit were Lee County agriculture businessmen Mitchell Scruggs and Eddie Scruggs, plus their businesses Scruggs Farm & Supplies LLC, Scruggs Farm Joint Venture, HES Farms Inc., MES Farms Inc. and MHS Farms Inc.

Mills said the court’s duty at this stage was to resolve “any ambiguities in the jury’s verdict.”

In the new order, the judge says Mitchell Scruggs made the decision to sell the infringing seeds in this case, not his company.

He denied all motions for a new trial and he ordered pre-judgment interest of 4 percent to begin at June 1, 2000, compounded annually.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com