Downing Named Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Syngenta Corn Lawsuit
Gray Ritter Graham attorney Don Downing, co-lead plaintiffs' counsel in a previous lawsuit over genetically modified rice that resulted in a $750 million settlement for rice producers, has been named co-lead plaintiffs' counsel in the multi-district litigation cases filed against Syngenta and its genetically modified corn. The United States District Court in Kansas City issued the order January 23. Downing is joined as co-lead counsels by Scott Powell of Hare Wynn Newell & Newton in Birmingham, AL, William Chaney of Gray Reed & McGraw in Texas, and Patrick Stueve of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City. The four firms filed two class action lawsuits against Syngenta on behalf of corn growers in 20 states. The lawsuits allege that Syngenta sold its Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade lines to American corn farmers without the necessary regulatory approvals from China, a major U.S. corn export market. In November 2013, a shipment of U.S. corn to China tested positive for the genetic trait found in Viptera - MIR162. As a result of this discovery, China began refusing shipments of U.S. corn, which negatively impacted the price U.S. corn farmers could obtain for their crop. More than 360 Syngenta corn cases were filed in courts across the country by corn farmers, grain handlers, exporters and others. As co-lead counsel, Downing and the other attorneys are responsible for representing the interests of all the plaintiffs included in the litigation.