Farmers’ suit against Syngenta awarded class action status

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers have been granted class action status for their lawsuits against seed company Syngenta over sales of biotech corn seeds not approved for import by China.

jshinsky | pixabay.com
jshinsky | pixabay.com

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers have been granted class action status for their lawsuits against seed company Syngenta over sales of biotech corn seeds not approved for import by China.

A judge in the U.S. District Court of Kansas certified a nationwide class and statewide classes in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. At least 440,000 farmers sued after grain shipments containing traces of Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera corn were rejected by China, which had not approved the variety for import before it was launched.

The plaintiffs in the case did not plant the Viptera corn, but claim they suffered $5 billion to $7 billion in losses of current and future revenue when China’s rejections – beginning in November 2013 – disrupted trade and negatively affected corn prices.

Syngenta considering appeal

“The court’s ruling will make it easier and less expensive for farmers to pursue their claims against Syngenta,” said Scott Powell who, along with Don Downing, William Chaney and Patrick Stueve, was appointed by the court as attorneys to represent the class. “Instead of having to retain and pay individual counsel, file their own lawsuit, produce voluminous farm records, sit for a deposition and appear at trial, the court found that all class members may attempt to prove their claims through a limited number of class representatives. If those class representatives win, all class members win. No individual farmer has to file a lawsuit to seek a recovery.”

Syngenta said it disagrees with the ruling to grant a class action and that it is considering an appeal.

“Syngenta respectfully disagrees with this ruling, particularly given the widely varying ways in which farmers grow and sell corn in different markets across the U.S.,” the Swiss company said in an email. “The court did not rule that plaintiffs’ claims actually have merit. … Syngenta firmly believes that the Viptera China lawsuits should be rejected and that Agrisure Viptera was commercialized in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.”

Page 1 of 70
Next Page