U.S. corn farmers file class action against Syngenta

Class action lawsuits seek damages for economic losses associated with premature release of Syngenta's GM MIR 162 corn seed.

Corn farmers filed several class action lawsuits Oct. 3 against Syngenta Corporation in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska federal courts. The lawsuits were coordinated by Hausfeld LLP, a Washington D.C.-based law firm, along with several other co-counsel and leading firms in the major corn-growing regions of the country.

The lawsuits allege that U.S. corn farmers have been damaged by Syngenta's premature release of genetically-engineered MIR 162 corn seed, also known as Agrisure Viptera, into the U.S. market before the seed received import approval from China, a key export market.

The lawsuits allege that Syngenta's decision to continue marketing MIR162 corn in the United States – despite the lack of import approval from China – has caused U.S. corn to be effectively excluded from China and domestic corn prices to be detrimentally impacted as a result.

The complaints further allege that Syngenta has attempted to downplay and misrepresent the significance of the export market for corn on U.S. corn prices with the intention of encouraging farmers to continue to buy and plant its MIR162 corn while knowing it would contaminate and impact the export market. Additionally, the lawsuit further contended that Syngenta repeatedly suggested that China's approval of MIR162 would happen imminently, when, in fact, Syngenta officials knew that China was no closer to approving MIR162.

The complaints have been brought on behalf of a nationwide class of corn farmers who grew, harvested, and sold non-MIR162 corn on a commercial basis from November 2013 to the present, as well as on behalf of corn farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

The class action lawsuits add to two other lawsuits filed by Cargill and Trans Coastal Supply Co, a major exporter of livestock feed products, in September.

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