In a multidistrict litigation, GRG attorney Don Downing and three co-lead counsel represent thousands of corn producers in numerous states across the country for their losses as a result of the market price drop of U.S. corn due to Syngenta defendants’ premature commercialization of corn seed products containing a genetic trait known as MIR 162 (varieties: Viptera and Duracade) which had not been approved in export markets such as China. Even though Syngenta defendants had been warned of the economic harm to the corn industry and the farmers, they went ahead in 2011 and commercialized Viptera. In 2013 U.S. exports to China were found to be contaminated with MIR 162 and China rejected the shipments. Syngenta ignored the requests by industry participants to stop the sale of Viptera and not only continued to sell Viptera, they launched Duracade for the 2014 crop year. As a result, thousands of suits have been filed against Syngenta in both federal and state courts for the market price losses from the embargo. Downing filed initial class action complaints in federal court in Missouri and Kansas in November, 2014, and on December 11, 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the cases to the District of Kansas to be coordinated by the Honorable John W. Lungstrum. On January 22, 2015, Judge Lungstrum appointed Downing as one of four Co-Lead Counsel to organize and supervise pretrial and trial preparation, delegate work responsibilities, consult with the nine-firm executive committee, and perform all duties necessary in connection with the prosecution of the litigation. In the months since Downing’s appointment, thousands of Plaintiff Fact Sheets from every plaintiff have been completed along with the class representatives’ responses to discovery and document production. Downing has overseen the team assigned to defend the class representative depositions and have prepared for and taken numerous depositions of Syngenta witnesses. He has been intricately involved with the co-leads’ taking of depositions of Syngenta witnesses and weigh in on all discovery and strategy issues. Millions of documents from Syngenta have been requested, reviewed and coded. He has attended all of the hearings held in Kansas City, all settlement discussions ordered by Judge Lungstrum with an independent mediator, and is involved in the preparation of all motions and briefing. Most of plaintiff’s claims in the master complaint survived Syngenta’s motion to dismiss and the class was certified on September 26, 2016, after extensive briefing.
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