If you are an American corn farmer who has been harmed by the damage caused to the United States corn market by Syngenta, Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton can help. Our proven trial lawyers continue to play a pivotal role in this complex and far-reaching litigation. One of our partners serves as national co-lead counsel for the corn farmers in the federal multidistrict litigation proceeding against Syngenta, and several other lawyers at our firm have been deeply involved in this litigation since early 2015.
WHAT IS THE SYNGENTA CORN LAWSUIT?
Global agricultural giant, Syngenta, made millions of dollars through the sale of two genetically-modified products to corn farmers in the United States, despite knowing that these products could ultimately lead to trade disruptions that would harm U.S. farmers.
American farmers’ access to foreign markets is a major force behind the price of corn in the United States, as much of the U.S.’s corn production is sold overseas. The biotechnology industry, which includes Syngenta, is aware that selling genetically-modified corn seeds in the U.S. before they are officially approved by major importing nations such as China can cause corn prices to drop as importing countries may reject shipments of corn containing unapproved traits, thereby reducing global demand for U.S. corn. This, in turn, can hurt U.S. farmers.
Despite this knowledge, Syngenta sold two GMO corn seeds in the U.S. before they were approved by China. In their efforts to convince U.S. farmers to buy the seeds, Syngenta assured farmers that the two products, Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade, would be quickly approved by China. However, this was not the case as Syngenta’s own mistakes caused delay in the approval of Viptera and Duracade.
While Syngenta made millions of dollars from the sale of these two corn seeds, U.S. farmers suffered greatly. China stopped buying corn grown in the U.S. in 2013. This resulted in the price of corn plummeting and led to an overall decrease in demand for U.S.-grown corn around the world.
In June of 2017, a jury awarded nearly $218 Million to Kansas farmers in the first of eight certified state class action lawsuits. The jury found Syngenta negligent and awarded $217,700,000 in compensatory damages to the class of more than 7,000 Kansas corn growers, who were represented in the lawsuit by four Kansas corn producer plaintiffs.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
The decreased demand for U.S. corn across the globe has hurt corn farmers from coast to coast, and not only those farmers that grew Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade. The lawsuit against Syngenta aims to help farmers who did not grow either variety of Syngenta corn but still suffered market losses as a result of the company’s actions. The National Grain and Feed Association estimated in a statement on Syngenta that the agricultural company was responsible for up to $2.9 billion in losses in the United States as of April 16, 2014.
Syngenta failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that its Agrisure Viptera corn variety was excluded from the exported U.S. corn supply. Our proven trial lawyers are committed to holding them accountable.
On June 23, 2017, A Kansas jury sided with Kansas corn producers in the first of eight certified state class action lawsuits involving the nation’s corn growers’ claims that Switzerland-based Syngenta’s actions with its genetically modified strains of corn led to the loss of an important market for U.S. corn and causing them economic harm. After a half day of deliberation, the jury found Syngenta negligent and awarded $217,700,000 in compensatory damages to the class of more than 7,000 Kansas corn growers, who were represented in the lawsuit by four Kansas corn producer plaintiffs. (Five Star Farms et al v. Syngenta AG et al, No. 2:14-cv-02571)
A preliminary settlement framework with Syngenta was reached in September 2017 and the settlement was finalized on February 23, 2018. The terms of the settlement were agreed upon only after years of hard fought litigation and negotiations between Syngenta and various plaintiff groups. If the settlement is approved, Syngenta will contribute $1.51 billion to a settlement fund that would be used to make payments to be allocated among eligible corn farmers, grain handling facilities and ethanol production facilities who fall within the settlement class and to cover the costs of administering the settlement, including any court-approved award of fees to plaintiffs’ counsel, in exchange for a classwide release of all claims against Syngenta related to the launch of Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade. The $1.51 billion settlement will resolve thousands of pending cases against Syngenta.