November 2015 – U.S. Corn Farmers vs. Syngenta Class Action Update
A recent ruling by a Kansas federal judge cleared the way for farmers, grain handlers and exporters to proceed towards trial in their suits against Syngenta claiming that the company’s sale of its Viptera and Duracade corn seed interrupted trade with China and harmed the market for U.S. corn.
Federal U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum rejected Syngenta’s two primary legal defenses in denying Syngenta’s motion to dismiss in substantial part. Syngenta had argued for the entire case to be dismissed.
Judge Lungstrum issued his 116-page ruling on Friday, Sept. 11, after reviewing hundreds of pages of written briefs and oral arguments presented by the plaintiff co-lead counsel team and Syngenta.
The co-lead plaintiff counsel, which includes Don Downing of Gray, Ritter & Graham, allege, among other things, that Syngenta was negligent in the timing, scope and manner of commercializing Viptera and Duracade genetically modified corn in the United States knowing that China had not yet approved the corn. China was a major importer of U.S. corn and stopped accepting virtually all U.S. corn shipments. As a result, prices for U.S. corn were depressed, economically damaging U.S. corn growers and others in the industry, according to the plaintiffs.
Judge Lungstrum rejected Syngenta’s argument that the company had no duty to protect the farmers, exporters and others in the industry who had brought suit. In his ruling, the judge said “the law reasonably imposes a duty on a manufacturer to exercise reasonable care not to commercialize and sell its product in a way that creates a risk of widespread harm resulting from the intended use of the product by all of its customers.”
“This is a big win for the American corn farmer,” said Gray, Ritter & Graham’s Downing. “We believe the court’s ruling thoroughly addresses and rejects the primary legal defenses asserted by Syngenta, namely, that it had no duty to avoid conduct that it knew was likely to harm corn farmers and others and that the economic loss doctrine barred those claims.”
Publicly available estimates of economic damages in early 2014 ranged from $1 billion to $2.9 billion, although Downing explained that actual damages may now be substantially higher given that U.S. corn exports to China have yet to recover.
Co-lead counsel Downing also led the team that obtained a $750 million settlement in 2011 on behalf of U.S. rice farmers who similarly suffered financially due to genetically modified rice seed.
On Saturday, September 14, 2013, the A.W. Smith Law Firm will host our second annual Child Safety Day from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This FREE event will be held in the parking lot of Community United Methodist Church at 3301 West Broadway, Columbia, Missouri.
Several organizations have donated their time to inform and educate parents and children on various topics regarding the physical safety and emotional well-being of children. Below is a list of organizations and topics that will be covered at this year’s Child Safety Day:
Several emergency vehicles will also be on hand for kids to see and tour:
Child Safety Day is more than an educational event—it’s also fun! Kids can play in a bounce house, and we will have balloon artists and a face painter. If you get hungry, don’t worry! We’ll have plenty of refreshments on hand by Jimmy John’s and Gold Nugget Popcorn.
Throughout the day, we will raffle off various prizes, but the grand prizes are a boy’s child-size bike and helmet and a girl’s child-size bike and helmet. For every five cans of food you donate to our food drive for the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, you will receive one raffle entry.
We believe it is important for every child to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to have a safe and happy childhood and we hope to help provide that through Child Safety Day.