Clayton, Mo. A suburban St. Louis biofuels ethanol company has won a $48.4 million judgment against a title company whose 2006 mistake caused it to bypass building a plant outside Wichita, Kan., and instead build one in Illinois.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a jury returned the verdict this past week in St. Louis County Circuit Court, ending a trial that lasted about two weeks. The verdict was one of the largest ever in the county.
Abengoa Bioenergy alleged in the suit filed in 2008 that Chicago Title Insurance Co. was supposed to notify property owners near the site of the proposed Colwich, Kan., plant so the company could acquire the proper zoning to build it.
But Jim Dowd, an attorney for Abengoa, said the title company left seven property owners off the list. Property owners learned about the plant after zoning was granted and sued.
Dowd said the company built a plant in Granite City, Ill., in 2010 but that the Kansas plant could have opened 15 months earlier, would have been less expensive to build and more profitable.
He said the company eventually got the go-ahead for the Kansas plant and may still build there.
Grant L. Davis, another attorney for Abengoa, said Chicago Title wouldn’t admit it had made a mistake.
“All this time, and they haven’t done anything to make it right,” he told the Post-Dispatch.
Chicago Title didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment Sunday from The Associated Press.