AZA Client Port of Houston Wins $22.32 Million Jury Verdict in Federal Court

HOUSTON – A jury in U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes’ court returned a $22.32 million verdict for the Port of Houston in a breach of contract dispute with French merchant firm Louis Dreyfus Company.  

The dispute was over Louis Dreyfus’ refusal to do required upkeep on a portside grain elevator it rented from the government from 2008 through 2018. The lack of upkeep resulted in massive corrosion, conveyor and structural tower problems, dust system problems, and other issues.  

“Louis Dreyfus not only let the grain elevator go into disrepair, but it refused to pay for that neglect when the lease ended. We are gratified the jury saw what was rightfully owed to the Port of Houston,” said AZA partner Sammy Ford IV. 

Mr. Ford tried the case with AZA lawyers partner Todd Mensing and associates Kelsi Stayart White, Michael Killingsworth and Thomas Frashier. 

“The jury saw that a company can’t just decide to walk away from its contractual responsibilities to a public entity because it was inconvenient to keep up its end of the bargain,” Mr. Killingsworth said.  

The case is Port of Houston Authority of Harris County Texas v. Louis Dreyfus Company Houston Export Elevator LLC federal case number 4:19-cv-00746 in the Southern District of Texas. The case originated in Harris County district court as case number 2019-08214. It was transferred to the federal court. 

AZA is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, healthcare, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2021 among the best in Texas commercial law and intellectual property; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for ten years running; has been named Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer; and was previously dubbed by Law360 a Texas Powerhouse law firm.

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