Gray, Ritter & Graham attorney Don Downing has filed an antitrust class action lawsuit against St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. in connection with its genetically modified trait in soybean and cotton seed conferring resistance to dicamba herbicide.
The lawsuit, filed January 8, 2018 in Missouri federal court, alleges that Monsanto, alone and/or in combination with other companies, engaged in anti-competitive practices relating to a dicamba-based crop system comprised of dicamba herbicide and soybean and cotton seed containing Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant technology. Monsanto’s Xtend dicamba-resistant trait in soybean and cotton seed is meant for use with dicamba herbicide, sold by Monsanto, as well as DuPont under license with Monsanto, and BASF. However, dicamba is highly volatile, as well as highly prone to drift, moving off-target to crops not resistant to the herbicide, thereby damaging them. According to the EPA, more than 3.6 million acres of soybean were damaged by dicamba drift in 2017 alone.
The lawsuit claims that by 2017, the number of acres planted with soybean seed containing Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant technology was more than 20 million, projected to double in 2018, with a target of almost all soybean acres in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that farmers are intimidated into buying seed with Monsanto’s technology to protect themselves from crop damage and that seed containing the trait is priced artificially high.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of Missouri soybean farmer Sam Branum and a class of all U.S. farmers who purchased soybean and cotton seed containing Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant trait after 2015. The lawsuit also includes one count of negligence under Missouri law against Monsanto.
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Posted in News January 12, 2018