Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. attorney Don Downing, along with Pat Stueve of Stueve Siegel Hanson, LLP in Kansas City, was named a recipient of a 2018 “Influential Lawyer” award by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. Don and Pat were honored for their work as co-lead plaintiff counsel in a federal multi-district litigation involving hundreds of thousands of corn producers, exporters and other industry participants’ claims against Switzerland-based Syngenta over a strain of the company’s genetically modified corn seed. In June 2017, the first of eight statewide class action lawsuits certified to date in the MDL was tried in the U.S. District Court of the District of Kansas. Don, Pat and the two other co-lead counsel represented more than 7,000 Kansas corn growers in the bellwether litigation. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs of $217.7 million, which was 100 percent of the compensatory damages requested by Don and Pat. The award will be presented at a luncheon on January 26, 2018. In 2011, Don received the “Legal Champion” award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly for his work in multi-district litigation over genetically modified rice. He led the negotiations that resulted in a $750 million settlement on behalf of the country’s rice growers.
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