TicoFrut, S.A. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc.
TicoFrut, S.A., a large orange grower and processor in Costa Rica, sued our client, DuPont, claiming that use of DuPont's fungicide Benlate DF had caused TicoFrut to suffer more than $170 million in damages. TicoFrut alleged that trees treated with Benlate DF produced substantially less fruit than non-treated trees. The company also alleged that, as a result, investors who would have funded significant planting of additional trees chose not to. The company claimed that it would have been able to expand to nearly four times its current size but for the damage caused by Benlate DF.
Working closely with DuPont's outside counsel at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, an Analysis Group team led by Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode supported our academic affiliate, Professor Robert Hall of Stanford University, in analyses of TicoFrut's production data and of the profitability of investing in Costa Rican orange groves. Professor Hall concluded that there was no difference in orange production between TicoFrut trees that had been treated with Benlate DF and those that had not. Professor Hall also concluded that even if TicoFrut had achieved its claimed "but-for" productivity, planting orange groves in Costa Rica would not have been profitable, due largely to falling orange juice prices. The jury found no liability for DuPont.