In a judgment released late last month Judge Edgar Dickson said ArborGen’s ‘legacy employees reposed special trust and confidence’ in the defendants — which included the company itself – several board members – International Paper – MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) and Rubicon.
In turn the workers were ‘abused by ArborGen – its founders – its board members and its management team’ the judgment said.
‘In not honouring the contracts the defendants acted with a lack of honesty and integrity in communicating with the plaintiffs’ it said.
‘The defendants orchestrated a cover-up scheme created and executed to switch the plaintiffs out of the [original] plan that the defendants had determined to be ‘too rich’ – all in an effort to eliminate what defendants recognised as a ‘high liability risk’.”
Rubicon chief executive Luke Moriarty a New Zealander named as a defendant in the lawsuit was criticised by Judge Dickson for his evidence.
‘At trial he was never qualified as an expert to render opinion testimony on the issue of valuation or damages … This court views defendant Moriarty’s opinions as not supported by competent credible evidence and self-serving’ the judgment says.