This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).





Meadowland Farmers Coop,



Kathleen A. Behrendt,

Haugen Feeds, Inc., and Leland Haugen,



Filed October 22, 2002


Peterson, Judge



Redwood County District Court

File No. C000114



Renee C. Rubish, Maschka Riedy & Ries, P.O. Box 7, Mankato, MN  56002-0007 (for respondent)


J. Brian O’Leary, O’Leary & Moritz, P.O. Box 76, Springfield, MN  56087 (for appellants)


            Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D    O P I N I O N


This appeal is from a judgment based on a jury verdict following a remand by this court and from an order denying a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, a new trial.  We affirm. 


To secure a loan from Minnesota Valley Bank, Kenneth Behrendt granted the bank a security interest in all of his hogs and in the proceeds of the sale of any hogs.  Behrendt also purchased feed on credit from respondent Meadowland Farmers Cooperative and granted Meadowland a security interest junior to the bank’s in all hogs and the proceeds of the sale of any hogs.  Behrendt’s debt to Meadowland reached $118,934.85.

Behrendt later began working for appellants Haugen Feeds, Inc., and Leland Haugen (collectively Haugen), and Haugen began providing feed for Behrendt’s hogs.  Behrendt also began selling hogs under a contract that Haugen had with John Morrell & Co.  Haugen received $172,121.00 from Morrell for Behrendt’s hogs.  From this amount, Haugen gave Behrendt $51,401.45, and Behrendt, in turn, made payments to the bank.  The bank consented to this arrangement, but Meadowland was not told about the arrangement.

Meadowland became aware of the arrangement when Behrendt filed for bankruptcy.  Meadowland sued Haugen for conversion.  The district court granted Meadowland’s motion for summary judgment against Haugen. This court affirmed the decision that Haugen was liable to Meadowland for conversion.  Meadowland Farmers Coop. v. Behrendt, No. C2-00-1753, 2001 WL 605033, at *2 (Minn. App. June 5, 2001).  But this court reversed the judgment and remanded for trial on the question of damages because there were fact issues

as to precisely what was converted, when the conversion occurred, the value of the converted collateral, and any set-off that might be appropriate for costs of preserving the hogs.



On remand, a jury found that the value of the collateral converted by Haugen was $172,121.00 and that Haugen was entitled to a set-off of $51,401.45 for the costs of preserving the hogs.  Haugen moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial contending that the district court should have found as a matter of law that Haugen was entitled to a set-off for the full cost of hog feed provided to Behrendt, rather than submitting the issue to the jury.  The district court denied the motion.


          On appeal from a denial of a motion for a new trial, the verdict must stand unless it is manifestly and palpably contrary to the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the verdict.


  ZumBerge v. N. States Power Co., 481 N.W.2d 103, 110 (Minn. App. 1992) (citation omitted), review denied (Minn. Apr. 29, 1992).

            We review the denial of a motion for JNOV de novo.  Pouliot v. Fitzsimmons, 582 N.W.2d 221, 224 (Minn. 1998).  Where JNOV has been denied by the trial court, on appellate review the denial “must be affirmed, if, in the record, there is any competent evidence reasonably tending to sustain the verdict.”  Id. (quotation omitted).

Unless the evidence is practically conclusive against the verdict, this court will not set the verdict aside.  The evidence must be considered in the light most favorable to the prevailing party and an appellate court must not set the verdict aside if it can be sustained on any reasonable theory of the evidence.


Id. (quotation and citation omitted).

1.         Haugen argues that, as a matter of law, it should be granted a set off against the $118,934.85 that Behrendt owed Meadowland for the full $132,364 value of the feed it supplied for Behrendt’s hogs because there is no question that live hogs must be fed, and therefore, the price of the feed was a cost of preserving Meadowland’s collateral.  But Haugen cites no authority for its argument that a feed supplier obtains priority over an existing security interest in livestock simply by providing feed for the livestock.  

Minn. Stat. § 514.966, subd. 3 (Supp. 2001), states:

(a)       A supplier furnishing livestock production inputs in the ordinary course of business has a * * * lien for the unpaid retail cost of the * * * input.  * * * A[n] * * *  input lien becomes effective when the * * * inputs are furnished by the supplier to the purchaser.


(b)       A supplier shall notify a lender of a[n] * * * input lien by providing a lien-notification statement to the lender * * * .


Minn. Stat. § 514.966, subd. 8 (i) (2001), states:


 A perfected * * * input lien has priority over a competing security interest in the livestock * * * if the * * * lien is effective before the secured party has given value to the debtor.


            A feed supplier that satisfies the requirements of this statute can obtain priority over an existing security interest in livestock for the unpaid retail cost of the feed.  But Haugen does not claim priority under this statute and does not argue that it has met the requirements of the statute.  Furthermore, because the statute specifies the conditions under which a feed supplier can obtain priority over an existing security interest, permitting Haugen to obtain priority without satisfying the requirements of the statute would defeat the purpose of the statute.

2.         Haugen argues that as a junior lien holder, Meadowland did not have a right to assert a claim superior to the lien held by Minnesota Valley Bank.  Haugen also made this argument in its previous appeal, and this court held that “[t]he district court did not err in finding that Haugen had converted sales proceeds that were subject to Meadowland’s security interest.”  Meadowland Farmers Coop v. Behrendt, No. C2-00-1753, 2001 WL 605033, at *2 (Minn. App. June 5, 2001).

Once an issue is considered, adjudicated, and reviewed on appeal it becomes the law of the case and will not be re-examined or readjusted on a second appeal of the same case.  Mattson v. Underwriters at Lloyds of London, 414 N.W.2d 717, 719-20 (Minn. 1987); Brezinka v. Bystrom Bros., 403 N.W.2d 841, 843 (Minn. 1987).  Because this court determined in the previous appeal that Meadowland had a valid conversion claim against Haugen, we will not re-examine this issue in this appeal.