A Kansas jury today sided with Kansas corn producers, represented in part by Gray, Ritter & Graham attorney Don Downing, 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 deliberations the jury found Syngenta negligent and awarded $217.7 million in compensatory damages to the class of more than 7,000 Kansas corn farmers, who were represented by four Kansas corn producer plaintiffs.
The Kansas plaintiffs alleged they suffered significant economic damages when Syngenta sold two genetically modified strains of its corn seed to the U.S. market prior to China approving them. China, a major importer of U.S. corn, began refusing all shipments of U.S. corn in 2013 after a genetic trait – MIR162 – found in one of the corn seeds was detected in shipments from the United States. The genetic trait at the time was not approved by China. With the loss of the Chinese market, corn growers in Kansas and across the country saw the price of corn plummet.
“The verdict is great news for corn farmers in Kansas and corn growers throughout the United States who were seriously hurt by Syngenta’s actions,” Downing said. “This is only the beginning. We look forward to pursuing justice for thousands more farmers in the months ahead.”
This was the first of eight state class action lawsuits certified in this Multi-District Litigation so far. The others involve Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota corn producers.
The plaintiffs were also represented by Scott Powell of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, Patrick Stueve of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, and William Chaney of Gray, Reed & McGraw LLP.
Posted in News on June 23, 2017