June 26, 2017
Syngenta Corn verdict of $217.7 Million in favor of Kansas Class of Corn Farmers:
Suit was brought by farmers across the nation against Syngenta for selling a genetically modified corn trait that had not been approved by the Chinese for import. The suit alleged that Syngenta was unreasonable in rushing the corn to market before such approval was obtained, knowing that the entire U.S. corn crop would be adversely affected by commingling unapproved traits with approved traits before shipment. When the corn was in fact rejected by China, corn prices fell in the United States, and all corn farmers experienced losses from the drop in corn prices.
The first case to be tried against Syngenta was on behalf of Kansas Corn Farmers. On June 23, after a three-week trial, a Kansas jury rendered a unanimous verdict in favor of the Kansas Class of corn farmers, awarding $217,700,000 to the Class. In addition, the verdict will help shape behavior of seed producers to make sure that the introduction of new seed technologies is done in a manner that won’t hurt the corn farmer.
There are remaining class cases to be tried over the ensuing months. In addition, the MDL court in Kansas has requested briefing on the order of trial of the remaining 7 certified classes of farmers represented by the class counsel, those being Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. The next MDL trial of one or more of those classes of farmers is expected to occur this winter, with other cases to follow shortly thereafter. In addition, class certification will be sought for corn producers in many other states.
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