KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mar 13, 2018, 9:44 AM ET

$1.5B settlement in suit over Syngenta modified corn seed


A $1.5 billion settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit covering tens of thousands of farmers, grain-handling facilities and ethanol plants that sued Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta over its introduction of a genetically engineered corn seed.

Lawsuits in state and federal courts challenged Syngenta's decision to introduce its modified Viptera and Duracade corn seed strains to the U.S. market for the 2011 growing season before having approval for import by China in 2014. The plaintiffs said Syngenta's decision cut off access to the large Chinese corn market and caused price drops for several years.

The settlement, reached Monday, must be approved by a federal judge in Kansas. It will create a fund to pay claims by farmers and others who contracted to price corn or corn byproducts after Sept. 15, 2013. If approved, money could be distributed to class members in the first half of 2019.

The settlement does not include the exporters Cargill and ADM that are also suing Syngenta.

Four lawyers who led the litigation for corn producers said in a joint statement Monday that the settlement is believed to be the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.

"America's corn farmers and related businesses were hurt economically and this settlement will provide fair compensation for their damages," the attorneys said. "It is an equitable result for all involved."

The preliminary settlement did not "constitute an admission by either side concerning merits of the parties' allegations and defenses," Syngenta spokesman Paul Minehart said in a statement.

The agribusiness giant contended that corn prices dropped because of market forces, not China's rejection of Viptera. Most of the farmers suing Syngenta didn't grow Viptera or Duracade, but China rejected millions of tons of their grain because elevators and shippers mix grain from several suppliers, making it impossible to find corn free of the trait.

Syngenta invested more than $100 million and 15 years in developing Viptera, which has a trait called MIR162 that protects against pests such as earworms, cutworms, armyworms and corn borers. Duracade, a newer variety, added protection against corn rootworm.

The company continued to defend the traits Monday, saying Viptera and Duracade provided a way to combat several pests and noting that the strains were "fully approved by all U.S. regulatory authorities at the time of their launch."

In June of 2017, a federal grand jury in Kansas awarded nearly $218 million to about 7,300 growers who sued Syngenta over the corn modifications. Plaintiffs' experts in that trial estimated the economic damage was about $5 billion. Another trial was in progress in state court in Minnesota in September when a preliminary settlement was reached.

News - $1.5B settlement in suit over Syngenta modified corn seed

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  • David Wishengrad

    Most of the people in the USA rape, enslave and slaughter animals for needless reasons (fun, taste, sport, unneeded nutrition, glamor, fashion, etc.).

    They have rejected and ignored, ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐Œ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ˆ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž: ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐Œ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ˆ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐“๐ซ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก ๐ข๐ง ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž.

    They have chosen heinous evil and facilitated mutually assured destruction nine ways to Sunday.
    They are willfully and intentionally committing the greatest holocaust of life in human history, which is not the facilitation of the kingdom of heaven on earth, all the while telling the lie that they have Christian status and know Christ.

    Of course the corn is jacked up. The majority of the people have chosen evil and made the environment for evil to propagate.

    Disagree? Fine. Please explain how the needless killing of the animals is in the best interest of life in general. It's inferior nutrition (just ask Arnold) and wastes resources (just ask Gore) and has arguably led to more needless human deaths in the USA than all the human deaths of all wars in all human history combined, with heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, prion disease, etc.). Like I said, "They have chosen heinous evil..."

  • KlintzDisqus

    Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)

    Look at your dog curled up in the corner of your living room, the variegated flowers blooming in your garden, and just about any domesticated animal or houseplant in existence...

    All of them modified through selective breeding. Genetic manipulation on a worldwide scale.

    Heck, even humans have been genetically/selectively bred throughout recorded history.

  • Onetaxpayer

    Monsanto has set the standard on who can you the seeds they provide. They won a suit against a farmer for using that some of Monsanto seeds that was blown over by the wind to a field that provided seed to other farmers. The firm received compensation for what the wind did. Any one providing a unique seed for sale should not be able to profit by actions of mother nature that are natural.
    GMOs have not had long term studies to determine what happens with extended use. With out the studies the companies will use the standard excuse that they have no evidence that the GMO's are a health hazard. They need to prove it before it is induced in to the food chain.

  • QuestionAuth

    Monsanto, you're next

  • linmarco

    Truth be told most of us don't know what were ingesting into our bodies. I'll be doing some organic gardening in a few weeks. I'm not sure that what I'm sold as non chemical is really that. I hope so but I'm on the verge
    of believing only what I find out on my own. These large companies are the monsters in the woods. I venture a guess that they own most of the world's legislatures with an exception or two and I could be wrong there.

  • David Wishengrad

    Pure censorship here. They don't want you to tell them that they have been harming animals for needless reasons.

    It's called Internet ganging and the people commenting here are up to no good.

    I was curious to see if ABC would do something legit. I am not surprised they are still gathering the people that harm and kill other humans by feeding them the death of needlessly killed animals. No surprise there! The Most Important Truth in Life, stated here publicly: "๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐— ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—œ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ", was removed so you would not know the most important truth of all. Isn't that evil?

  • AwfHand

    I think we just need to use more Brawndo. It's got electrolytes.

  • 777abc

    The truth? We should never have been subsidizing corn in the first place. Now we have corn syrup in everything we put in our mouths and everyone is overweight. The government essentially paid corn farmers to make Americans fat and unhealthy.

  • tj

    I find it interesting that China would reject anything approved for use in other industrialized nations. Yet they provide false stories and attempt cover-ups when they export substandard and/or down right dangerous products for the rest of us to purchase.

  • TexasVulcan

    Most of the anti-GMO rhetoric is not based on science.

  • Dwight Francis david

    Corporate farming hurt farmers finally a win now sue Monsanto for oh let's say destroying seed lineages

  • wilmers13

    Big business has a certain reputation for a reason.