The first order sets forth definitive dates for pre-trial discovery and motions. It orders the parties to file a jointly-prepared pretrial statement not later than April 15, 2005, with a trial to follow thereafter. Monsanto had sought to submit pretrial statements in December 2005 with a trial to be scheduled after that, while D&PL had sought a 2004 date.

The second order allows Monsanto to amend its answer to include certain counterclaims against D&PL, but denies Monsanto's motion to add an additional counterclaim. The case is pending in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Bolivar County Mississippi.

"We are delighted that the court has set a definitive schedule,” said Tom Jagodinski, president and chief executive officer of Delta and Pine Land. “We will pursue all remedies to which we are entitled, and we look forward to presenting our case to a jury. We expected that Monsanto would be allowed to amend its answer to assert some counterclaims, as is usually allowed.

“We feel strongly that these counterclaims are without merit, and we plan to vigorously defend them."

Delta and Pine Land is a commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed. Headquartered in Scott, Miss., with multiple offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries, DLP also breeds, produces and markets soybean planting seed.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com