Federal Court Dismisses Equipment Suit

Lawsuit Alleging Boersen Farms Equipment Scheme Dismissed in Federal Court

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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A federal lawsuit filed in Michigan that alleges Zeeland, Michigan-based Boersen Farms sold farm equipment it didn't own was dismissed on a technicality. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a federal lawsuit that alleged Dennis Boersen and Boersen Farms in Zeeland, Michigan, leased farm equipment and sold it to a third party even though the farm didn't own the equipment.

The lawsuit filed by a Florida leasing company Utica Leaseco LLC against Illinois-based JW Equipment LLC was dismissed on a technicality. This clears the way for the lawsuit to be filed in state court.

Earlier this month Utica Leaseco filed a notice with the U.S. District Court for the District of Western Michigan that there was a jurisdictional defect in the lawsuit that required it to be dismissed.

The federal court can claim jurisdiction over a case so long as the amount of money in controversy exceeds $75,000 and when no plaintiff or defendant resides in the same state.

Utica informed the court on April 1 that an "individual member" of one of the plaintiff's limited liability company members was also a citizen of Illinois where JW Equipment is based.

"The court therefore lacks subject matter jurisdiction," the court said in its order.

"Plaintiff counsel agrees to reimburse defendant JW Equipment, LLC $2,000 to account for reasonable costs and fees JW Equipment will incur as a result of this matter being refiled in state court."

In the federal lawsuit, Utica alleged three counts against JW Equipment, including conversion of property, common law conversion and unjust enrichment. Utica also levied similar allegations against Boersen Farms in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Michigan.

The federal lawsuit outlined an alleged equipment scheme undertaken by Boersen, pointing to information shared with Utica by federal investigators as a basis for legal action.

Utica conducted one of several inspections at Boersen Farms in June 2023 after Boersen defaulted on an equipment lease with Utica for a second time, the lawsuit said.

After that inspection, Utica said it began to foreclose and repossess several items of equipment from Boersen Farms.

That is when Utica said it "learned that Boersen, by his own admission, stole 112 items of equipment and fraudulently transferred them to numerous entities, including defendant (JW Equipment)."

Throughout the summer of 2023, Utica said it obtained information from federal authorities about Boersen's alleged actions.

That included "documentary evidence from federal investigators revealing that since around August 2019, Boersen had been fraudulently transferring equipment to third parties like defendant, who were on notice of plaintiff's interest in the equipment," the lawsuit alleged.

"Those transactions included equipment that defendant had just sold to plaintiff (Utica) and delivered to Boersen," the complaint said.

"In each of these transactions, Boersen acted fraudulently through either Boersen Farms or Hilltop Equipment LLC (a Boersen business entity) and defendant (JW Equipment) took delivery of and paid Boersen Farms for the equipment with no notice to plaintiff (Utica)."

Also see:

"Suit Alleges Boersen Stole Equipment," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

"Court Dismisses Boersen Farms Lawsuit," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

"Michigan Farm Raided by IRS Sues Feds," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on social media platform X @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
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