December 8, 2011 – The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of a dozen Arkansas rice farmers today, upholding a $48 million jury verdict against German agricultural powerhouse Bayer CropScience.
“It is a wonderful victory for our clients who have struggled mightily over the loss of the world rice markets and continue to struggle,” states Scott Powell, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Powell also believes this a great victory for small businesses in Arkansas.
The suit was filed on behalf of Arkansas rice farmers after an experimental rice strain developed by Bayer called Liberty Link was allowed to make its way into the stream of commercially marketed rice. Liberty Link was developed to withstand a popular herbicide that kills weeds in the fields. The suit claimed that rice prices fell after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August 2006 that trace amounts of Liberty Link rice were found in U.S. long-grain rice stocks. The verdict was the largest verdict reached regarding contamination by Bayer’s genetically modified Liberty Link rice.